Several things can affect our immune system, both positively and negatively! The darker colder days are here and most of us are out and about more than we were this time last year and are therefore more susceptible to illness. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best ways you can help to strengthen and build up your immune system.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for maintaining a good level of health, and not getting enough can cause problems for your immune system. The Sleep Foundation recommends that you should get between eight and ten hours of sleep every night to ensure you are functioning properly. Sleep deprivation and poor-quality sleep can lead to higher levels of cortisol, which can suppress your immune system. Tiredness and fatigue are known to have a negative impact on your immune system, so ensuring you try get eight hours of good quality sleep every night is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your general health and strengthening your immune system.
If you want to delve deeper into Sleep and the Science & Practice of Perfecting Your Sleep check out this podcast from Huberman Lab
Eat More Whole Foods (Fruit & Veg)
Diet can have a huge impact when it comes to strengthening the immune system. We all know how important maintaining a balanced diet is for our general health but consuming more of certain food groups and less of others can help to improve how effectively your immune system functions. Eating more whole foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables can help to boost your immunity. The combination of the immunity boosting properties of fruits and vegetable and getting your five or more a day can benefit you in several ways.
Get in Your Healthy Fats
In addition to your whole foods, you should ensure that you are getting enough omega 3 in your diet. Omega 3 is an essential nutrient that our bodies are incapable of producing, so we need to obtain it from external sources. Omega 3 fatty acids are typically found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and anchovies. Other sources rich in omega 3 include nuts, seeds, and plant oils. Omega 3 can help to support the immune system in several different ways, so it’s important you are getting enough in your diet.
We’ve got a ton of Omega blogs on our site, from why you need them to the best sources. If you’re interested, they can be found here.
Try to Eat More Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are typically a good source of ‘beneficial’ or ‘helpful’ bacteria, which can improve your gut health and in return strengthen your immune system. Fermented foods such as yoghurt, olives, and cultured milk all contain a variety of helpful bacteria that can help to restore the balance in your gut and reduce inflammation. If you think you might struggle to get fermented foods into your diet, you could try taking a probiotic supplement instead. Probiotics contain different types of healthy bacteria, which can help top up any of the essential goodness you aren’t getting from fermented foods.
Try to Limit Sugars and Refined Carbs
Overindulging in sugar can be tempting, we’ve all done it, especially if you aren’t feeling at your best, however, consuming too much sugar can have a negative impact on your immune system. Refined sugars and carbs can interfere with your body’s ability to tackle infections so it’s best to minimise your sugar intake as much as possible, or at least staying within the daily recommended limit. Refined carbs can cause a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels, which can result in the production of more free radicals and inflammatory proteins, both of which can be damaging to the immune system.
Yes, we know, it’s not always easy especially as it’s cold, wet and miserable outside, BUT exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for your immune system, as well as for your general health. Exercise is known to support efficient production and circulation of immune cells making it easier for your body to detect harmful bacteria or viruses. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, just 30 minutes a day can have a significant benefit when it comes to strengthening the immune system. Not a fan of the gym or running? A walk, yoga or a quick YouTube HIIT class can still help.
Drink Plenty of Water
It’s incredibly common for people to forget to drink enough water throughout the day, even though drinking it is a necessity. Feelings of dehydration can be disguised in many ways, and people often mistake being dehydrated for being hungry. Staying hydrated is a key element when it comes to maintaining a healthy immune system because the nutrients in our bloodstream are highly dependent on water. Guidelines on the daily recommended amount of water can vary which can be confusing, but the NHS guidelines suggest that you should aim to drink 2 litres of water per day.
If you always ‘forget’, try having a bottle with you or on your desk. Even better, get a bottle with markers and times on to keep you accountable.
Of course, minimising stress is much easier said than done, but it is worth being aware that your immune system can be negatively impacted if you are constantly suffering from stress. When we are stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is hindered, and we become more susceptible to falling ill. Additionally, stress can raise blood pressure, which can put more strain on the circulatory system and leave you more at risk of heart-related issues. Whilst minimising stress can be challenging, there are certain measures you can take and other things you can do to help relieve you of stress in a healthy way – you can check out the stress section of our blog where you might find some helpful tips.
Supplement Where Necessary
If you are lacking any essential nutrients from your diet, it can be a good idea to use supplements to ensure you are getting the recommended daily amounts. Lacking certain vitamins and other nutrients can be detrimental to your immune system, so you want to ensure you are getting the required amount per day. The NHS recommends that an adult should get 40mg of vitamin C a day, so if you find yourself lacking, you can take a supplement such as Revive & Go as part of a balanced diet.
Vitamin D is another essential nutrient that people sometimes lack from their overall diet and the NHS suggests adults should aim for 10mg per day. If this is lacking in your daily diet, you can use supplements such as One Nutrition D3-Max to ensure you get the required amount. Similarly, people often don’t get enough omega-3 in their diets and can use supplements such as Cleanmarine Krill Oil to ensure they are getting the essential nutrients.
One vitamin that is often lacking for men is zinc, which is where supplements such as Cleanmarine for Men can help. Combined with a variety of other essential vitamins, Cleanmarine for Men can provide the necessary daily amount of zinc required to function normally. But it’s important not to overly rely on supplements, and to use them in addition to maintaining a healthy diet.
The immune system is essential to our wellbeing and general health, so it’s important to look after it as best possible. By following the tips mentioned in this article, you could give yourself the best chance of strengthening your immune system so it can fight off harmful bacteria and infections.