Heading into winter after a year plagued by a worldwide virus it’s more important than ever that we ensure our immune systems are as strong and functioning.
Acting as a layer of defence against Colds and Flus, immune system strength plays a key role in fighting off winter viruses.
In this article we will cover some simple and easy tips which you can incorporate into your daily life to help support and maintain a strong immune system.
As the immune system is in fact, a system, there are multiple factors which effect its performance and strength. As this is the case, a healthy lifestyle including a combination of the below factors is a great way to work towards ensuring your immune system is strong.
As with overall health in general, a healthy diet plays a key role in ensuring all our internal systems, including our immune system, are operating efficiently and effectively.
To ensure we are ingesting a range of nutrients it is important that we eat a balanced diet.
Some foods that are great to include in your diet are plant foods such as nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds and legumes. These foods contain nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which help to maintain overall health and in turn a healthy immune system.
As well as trying to incorporate these foods into your every day diet, you should also try and reduce consumption of high sugar and processed foods.
Make sure you are getting adequate sleep every night. Lack of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system, in turn leaving you more susceptible to viruses.
As an adult (18-64) you should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
As well as hours slept, it is also important to ensure this sleep is high quality sleep.
Some tips to help encourage high quality sleep include:
- Turning off electronics 30 minutes before going to bed
- Sticking to a sleep schedule (even on weekends)
- Ensuring your room is dark and quiet
- Making sure your room is cool. The perfect sleeping temperature is between (15-19 ° C)
- Performing daily exercise
- Refraining from drinking coffee or alcohol before bed. You should aim to avoid this
By maintaining overall health, you also maintain the health of your immune system. Therefore, as a key to a healthy lifestyle, it is no surprise that exercise also helps to keep our immune system strong.
The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. If you can manage more and combine a combination of moderate, high intensity and strength exercises these will be additionally beneficial as long as you don’t overdo it.
You should aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day, even if you are short of time, a walk or a small home circuit will be more beneficial than nothing at all.
If you are able to incorporate all the above into your lifestyle you’ll be well on track to ensuring your immune system is functioning well and ready to fight off the winter colds.
Surprising Reasons You’re Not Staying Asleep, National Sleep Foundation, Sleep.org
How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?, Sleep Foundation.org
Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, World Health Organization
How to boost your immune system, Harvard Health Publishing , April 6th, 2020