5 lifestyle changes that can lead to an enhanced immune system
Having a highly functioning immune system is more important than ever, with the global coronavirus pandemic impacting so many of our lives. We have put together some simple and effective tips and steps that you can take to help your body be in the best position to fight off illness.
Many studies have found vitamin D to be essential in boosting the body’s immune response. The best way that humans can get their daily does of vitamin D is through getting outside in the sun. Unfortunately if like me you reside in the United Kingdom, it is rare that we have the weather that permits us to get outside with our skin exposed without freezing to death in the meantime.
If getting outside regularly in the sun is not an option then you can easily purchase supplements for vitamin D from all high street chemists, as well as online. If you want to test whether or not you are deficient in vitamin D then check out these easy-to-use home tests from our online store here:
Ensuring that you are getting in some moderate exercise each day is another super easy way of boosting your immune health whilst also doing something enjoyable. This could be going for a brisk walk, run or cycle outside, doing an at home workout or attending a gym class. Not only will this help strengthen your immune system, you will also release endorphins which will relieve pain and stress.
If you find it difficult to build in time to exercise into your routine then there are many ways you can increase your daily movement without it taking up heaps of your time. For example making a small change like walking to the shops instead of driving, or walking to pick up your takeaway instead of choosing the delivery option. Even just putting on your favourite music and having a dance around your living room when no one is watching. These are all great ways to boost your daily movement and in turn increase your immune health.
Try to maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your sugar intake. Focus your diet on whole foods and lots of fruit and vegetables.
There are many foods (referred to as superfoods) that can be easily added to a balanced diet to improve the function of your immune system.
Deficiency in vitamin C has been found to lead to decreased immune health and increased chance of getting infections.
Foods to boost your vitamin C:
- Kiwi fruits
- Bell Peppers
- Olive Oil
- Leafy Greens
- Fatty Fish
Vitamin E is known to be an enhancer for immune functions. Foods that are naturally high in vitamin E:
- Sunflower Seeds
Foods that are naturally high in Vitamin D:
- Oily Fish
- Red meat
Processed foods that may be fortified with Vitamin D:
- Fortified cereals & spreads
- Some plant based foods are fortified with vitamin d
Consistently getting the correct amount and quality of sleep not only helps your body fight off illnesses, but also means you will be able to recover quicker when you do fall ill. This is because when we are asleep our bodies produce a protein which is vital in our abilities to create an immune response to illness.
There are two areas in which we can aim to make improvements in order to better our sleep hygiene. Firstly, the amount of sleep we are getting is integral. Ideally we should aim for somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Next up is the quality of that sleep. Ideally we want to fall straight asleep, and sleep deeply, without distractions and interruptions until the morning. But how can we achieve this?
- Aiming for a consistent sleep schedule every day. Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day (even weekends).
- Avoid using electronic items at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Or invest in some blue light blocking glasses.
- Making sure your sleeping area is comfortable, clean and free from any light or noises that may interrupt your sleep.
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks in the evenings
Reducing stress levels is another effective way to strengthen your body’s immune response. When we are intensely stressed, our body is less able to fight off illnesses, so we should do our best to introduce stress relieving activities into our daily lives.
There are many different activities that can be stress relieving but some of the top and most popular are things such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. Many good video tutorials, classes and guided meditations can be found on youtube that are free and easy to access, so getting in 10 minutes of these a day is simple.