Your immune system is your main line of defence against diseases, viruses, bacteria, and toxins that could otherwise make you sick. So, a strong immune system is vital in keeping your body healthy and functioning the way it should.
We explore some simple steps you can take to help support this complex process and create the right balance for your immune system to work at its best.
Get the right nutrients
Your immune system needs the right nourishment to work at its optimum, and there are some key vitamins and minerals it needs to function effectively, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
Eat a balanced diet
A varied and balanced diet is essential to ensure your immune system gets all the key nutrients it needs. It is also advised to limit some foods, such as highly processed meals and sugar as well as reduce your alcohol intake.
Your aim is to eat a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit which are nutrient dense and packed with antioxidants, along with quality lean protein, immune system-friendly fats and plenty of whole foods for fibre. It is also important to keep hydrated, so that’s at least 6-8 glasses of water a day, depending on your activity levels.
Taking daily multivitamin tablets to support your immune system boosting diet can also be a good idea to further safeguard your intakes.
We all know that exercise is good for both the mind and body, and this includes helping to keep your immune response functioning at its best.
By improving your cardio health and lowering blood pressure, regular exercise can also control body weight and help reduce stress, which are all conducive to a happy immune system. Just 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week has been shown to stimulate your immune system, proving that getting active is key to your good health.
Get plenty of rest
As well as exercise, your body needs plenty of rest for the immune system to recharge. The stress hormone cortisol, which is released into the body during the day, also drops during the night as your immune system releases small proteins called cytokines, which help to promote a healthy inflammatory response.
Sufficient sleep ensures your body is fully rested, as prolonged sleep disruption such as insomnia can actually interfere with your immune system, leaving you more prone to infection.
The final step you can take to help create the right balance for your immune system is to manage the stress in your everyday life. By effectively managing stress you can help to lower the levels of stress hormones in your body, which over time can impair your immune system’s ability to function.
Practising mindfulness, meditation and yoga, or simply taking time out to relax, by working in some simple techniques into your day you can make a real difference to your health and immune system and, ultimately, your long-term wellbeing.