With winter slowly coming to an end, it’s time to do everything we can to build up our bodies’ defences against post-winter sniffles and coughs. Our immune systems do an amazing job of fighting diseases and infections that attack our bodies.
Here are 5 ways to boost your immune system.
Some people have steadfast opinions about whether to get vaccinate for flu – some swear by them, while others are sceptical. The experts don’t claim that a flu shot will totally prevent you from getting flu, but it should ensure you’ll get a less severe infection. Flu vaccines are recommended for at-risk groups such as the elderly, pregnant women and those who are classified as having compromised immune systems or have chronic diseases.
2. EAT HEALTHILY
Many people have a favourite cure for colds and flu, whether it’s chicken soup, vitamin C or antioxidant-rich tea – all of these remedies have been tested in studies and shown to improve the symptoms – but it is much better to prevent the infection in the first place. Don’t be tempted to experiment with the more expensive, odd-sounding superfoods. Eating a balanced diet will supply you with enough antioxidants and nutrients to fuel your defences.
Probiotics are the ‘good’ bacteria naturally found in our intestines. Researchers are discovering that gut health affects the whole body, including the immune system. Yoghurt contains probiotics – check for products with ‘active cultures’ and rather choose plain over flavoured.
4. STOP SMOKING
Okay, this one may not be easy, but it makes sense. Smoking doesn’t just affect your lungs – it actually weakens your immune system, making you more susceptible to infections and disease. Even passive smoking has been shown to increase susceptibility to pneumonia, bronchitis and middle-ear infections.
5. EXERCISE & DESTRESS
It’s not just what we put into our bodies that affects their ability to fight disease. Stress can weaken immunity – a study of first-year students found that even loneliness was associated with lower immunity. Exercise not only releases endorphins in the brain (which reduce stress levels), but also improves blood circulation, so the disease-fighting cells move more rapidly to detect disease.
[Image by Vino Li via Unsplash]