4 tips to help look after your immune system
Looking after yourself is the best way to improve immunity, and the better your immune system functions, the better your body functions.
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Looking after yourself is the best way to improve immunity, and the better your immune system functions, the better your body functions. Whilst the pandemic has been a threat to everyone’s health, there’s still things you can do to protect your immune system. In our latest blog post, we look at four tips to help you.
Sleep and immunity are closely tied together. If you seem to catch frequent colds, it could be your sleep patterns to blame. It is said that while you sleep, your immune system produces protective, infection-fighting substances like antibodies and cytokines. It uses these materials to combat bacteria and viruses (1). The optimal amount of sleep for most adults is seven to eight hours each night, teenagers need nine to 10 hours and younger children may need 10 hours plus.
Maintaining good gut health
Taking steps to ensure your digestive system is functioning properly is an essential part of maintaining your health. Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are vital to your immune system. When food is broken down during digestion, your gut absorbs nutrients that are used to support various bodily functions. If you have an imbalance of bacteria, your gut can create compounds that lead to an inflammatory response. This can be caused by a processed diet and stress. Eating a diet that encourages a healthy balance of bacteria ensures that your gut bacteria isn’t wasting its immunity response by fighting inflammation.
Eating the right foods and staying hydrated
Eating a well-balanced and healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to look after your body. Focusing on nutrient dense foods is the best way to ensure you’re achieving a good daily intake of vitamins A, B and C, as well as zinc. You can also increase your daily intake of antioxidants by including kale, spinach, and berries into your diet. We also need to stay hydrated in order for our body to function at an optimum level. It’s recommended that you should drink two litres of water per day.
Engaging in exercise
It’s said that moderate exercise can give your immune system a boost, in addition to helping your mental health. This is because regular, moderate exercise can reduce inflammation and help your cells to regenerate regularly, as exercise increases circulation and blood flow. Moderate exercise is a part of your body’s general housekeeping, so if you’re stuck on ideas for kickstarting your exercise regime, why not try brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling?
Further advice and support
If you’re looking for further support with your immune system, then please see the below resources for more information:
British Heart Foundation
(1) https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-deprivation/effects-on-body (Healthline, Friday May 15th 2020. Accessed Thursday 25th March 2021)