With winter just around the corner, now is the time to supercharge your immunity and limit any risk of catching that dreaded cold. A few simple lifestyle changes could be all it takes…
1. Refocus Your Diet
Undeniably one of the best ways to keep your immune system tip-top is by eating a nutritionally-rich and balanced diet. Look for foods which are high in antioxidants (leafy greens, carrots and other fruits), vitamin C (citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli and berries), vitamin E (almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts), zinc (chickpeas and beans), Omega-3 (oily fish) and probiotics (Greek yoghurt). Garlic, ginger, turmeric and onions are all renowned for their anti-inflammatory properties too. Be sure to keep hydration levels boosted too by drinking plenty of water. Water helps your kidneys eliminate toxins effectively and carry oxygen to your body’s cells, making it a crucial factor in your overall bodily health.
2. Consider Supplements
Supplementation is another great way of ensuring you are getting the nutrients you need. “There is a great deal of clinical evidence supporting regular supplementation of vitamin C and boosting your immune system,” explains Dr David Jack. “High doses are believed to help the body cope with colds and reduce how long they last, making it a wise choice for winter – when vitamin D due to sun exposure is naturally much lower. The antioxidant benefits of vitamin B6 and vitamin E have also been shown to benefit immune system function, as have zinc, magnesium and selenium.”
3. Prioritise Sleep
Sleep gives your immunity system time to recharge meaning that when you are sleep deprived, your immunity becomes weakened. A weakened immune system makes you more susceptible to illness so it’s best to aim for 7-8 hours of good quality sleep. If you struggle falling or staying asleep, try making sure you are taking the time to wind down. Taking a bath with This Works’ Deep Sleep Bath Soak can help you mind and body prepare for sleep, as can a spritz of Cowshed’s Sleep Body and Pillow Mist before bed.
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercising significantly improves overall health by controlling your body weight, improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and managing stress levels meaning it has a huge effect on the functionality of your immune system. Exercising also has an anti-inflammatory effect on your body as well as enhancing movement of immunity-related cells. While the dark mornings and cold evenings can make your morning run or evening gym class less appealing, even just doing 20 minutes of movement at home can be beneficial. Yoga is a wise choice since it also helps with mental wellbeing and promoting restful sleep. Try lighting a candle (we love Mauli’s Sundaram & Silence Candle) to create a zen-like atmosphere too.
5. Manage Stress Levels
High stress levels can also have a negative impact on your immune system as increased corticosteroid (the stress hormone) weakens your ability to fight off antigens like bacteria and viruses. Stress can also have a knock-on effect on your lifestyle and result in bad habits such as poor diet, lack of sleep and lack of exercise so keeping tabs on all of the above will help.