We have all witnessed firsthand just how much our world has changed in such a short amount of time, and it’s also reaffirmed just how important our health and wellbeing is. We only get one life and we only have one body to get us to the finish line so let’s do everything we can to make it count. We’ve listed a few tips down below to help us stay healthy off the back of such a crazy year, all of which are simple things we can do to help support our immune system and live a healthy lifestyle.
- GET INTO EXERCISE
Immunology studies have shown that moderate exercise performed regularly can help reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections by 33%. Regular exercise is a great way to not only reduce the risk of illness, but it is also good for helping reduce stress. Our tip would be to participate in some form of moderate exercise for 30-60 minutes 3-4 times per week.
- REDUCE ANYTHING CAUSING STRESS
It might be easier said than done, but there is no doubt that high levels of stress whether physically, emotionally or psychologically has a negative impact on your immune system by increasing cortisol levels and reducing lymphocyte numbers in the body. Taking time each day to destress with exercise, meditation or any relaxing activities you enjoy will go a long way towards helping your body unwind and get a quality nights sleep.
- ARE CIGARETTES AND ALCOHOL NEEDED FOR FUN?
This won’t really come as a surprise to anyone, however it is worth mentioning nonetheless. Heavy smokers are likely to develop upper respiratory tract infections and are more susceptible to infections such as pneumonia, while excessive amounts of alcohol can damage the lining of the gut and its healthy bacteria that fight off foreign pathogens. Now we’re not recommending cutting off the Friday afternoon work drinks by any means, but moderation is the key here. If you feel like having a drink, try sticking to 1 or 2.
- GET MORE FRESH AIR AND SUNSHINE (VITAMIN D)
Cold and Flu viruses are far less prevalent in the summer and one of the reasons for this is the increased levels of vitamin D thanks to more sun exposure. Vitamin D3 has been shown to boost immune function, so it’s important to take time get outside and take in the fresh air. Just don’t forget to apply the sunscreen!
- GET RID OF SUGARY SNACKS
Similar to the above, it’s common knowledge that excess consumption of sugar is unhealthy, but did you also know that too much sugar has been shown to reduce immune function by putting your neutrophils into a coma? Much like alcohol, too much sugar will deplete our body of vital nutrients which are needed for a healthy immune system. Try to avoid processed packaged foods with over 10% in sugar and instead eat more whole foods where possible.
- EAT YOUR GREENS
There’s a reason why your parents always told you to eat your veggies. Over 83 published peer review studies have found that increased vegetable consumption is directly correlated to higher levels of immunity. The micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables are key to maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
- GET MORE QUALITY SLEEP
Aiming to get 8 hours of sleep a day is ideal but getting 8 quality hours of sleep is even better. While we’re asleep our bodies go into a kind of repair mode where they clear out inflammation, bacteria and viruses so it’s vital that we give our body the recovery time it needs. If you’re struggling to get a good nights sleep we’d recommend shutting off all blue light emitting devices an hour before bed and avoiding consuming caffeine or other stimulants a few hours before you go to sleep.
- COOK WITH MORE HERBS
Try adding a few more herbs into your diet, they’ll increase the flavour of whatever you’re cooking, and many of them have been shown to have additional health benefits too! Common herbs such as Rosemary, Oregano and Ginger contain compounds which fight off viruses and other respiratory infections.
- TOP UP ON ZINC & VITAMIN C
Another common knowledge one that gets neglected more often than we’d like to admit. Zinc and Vitamin C have been recommended for decades in the health industry thanks to their properties which support immune health. Many of the symptoms we experience during a flu are a result of our immune response losing control. Zinc supplements will reduce these symptoms while Vitamin C work to prevent catching them in the first place.
It’s clear there are many things you can do to minimise infection of colds, flu’s and other virus’s which include healthy hygiene practices. However, focusing on quality nutrition, fresh air and clean drinking water will always be a great place to start along with the tips above.
- GET SOME MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS INTO YOUR DIET
Don’t get these confused for magic mushrooms. Several mushrooms such as Shitake, Chaga, and Reishi have all been shown to be successful in both the treatment and prevention on respiratory viruses like the common cold and influenza thanks to their antioxidant rich nature and anti-viral compounds.
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.