There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a train or in the office with people who are sniffling, coughing and sneezing around us – gross! Although the dreaded winter months are almost over (hurray!) it doesn’t necessarily mean our immune system is up to scratch.
With so many germs around, how is it possible to avoid getting sick? Instead of ignoring your sick colleague or staying indoors to keep warm, these 10 natural ways will help strengthen your immune system, whatever the weather.
1. Get a good night’s sleep
Getting the recommended 7-8 hours sleep each night may not come easily to all of us. But, believe me when I tell you, sleep is absolutely vital for your health and well being. Instead of binge-watching episodes on Netflix or checking those after-work emails in bed, it’s important to take this time to relax and de-stress after a busy day.
Try getting into a routine each night, put your phone down, turn your computer off and opt for a great book or sleeping app. Sleep is the secret to a strengthened immune system and we’re all for it – night guys!
2. Eat your antioxidants
It’s no myth – berries are an excellent way to build up a strong immune system. Not only are they filled with antioxidants, they are also low in calories. According to experts, blackcurrants have been described as the ultimate superfruit and it’s easy to see why.
They are an excellent source of anthocyanins, known to help protect against ill-health, as well as cancer and heart disease. So, instead of snacking on crisps and chocolate throughout the day opt for a handful of berries or even pop them in your morning porridge to keep the flu at bay.
3. Book a flight
Although too much sun can be damaging, the right amount can be beneficial to our overall health. Vitamin D is essential for a strong immune system and sunshine is a great way to cure that horrible winter virus.
I’m not saying you have to sit in the sun all day, but just 15 minutes of sunshine is all that’s needed. Get your suitcases packed, factor 30 at the ready and treat yourself to a week away. I think we’re all in need of a little sunshine, don’t you?
4. Work up a sweat
The thought of hitting the gym, when you’re snuggled up in bed with your hot water bottle and tissues may sound like a terrible plan. But you’re wrong. Staying active and is a key contributor to having a healthy immune system. And most of the time, doing a gentle workout whilst you’re ill can actually make you feel much better.
I’m not saying you have to endure an hour-long Barry’s Bootcamp, but a short cardio and ab workout is all you need to sweat out that dreaded winter flu.
5. Make sure you’re hydrated
No matter the weather, drinking plenty of water is vital for your health. Not only is it a great way to get flawless skin and shiny hair, but drinking it every day helps your body flush out any toxins and it can even help you lose weight!
Dehydration can compromise your immune system and lead to other health problems. Water makes up around 60 percent of our body weight and your body needs it to survive each day. Another great way to keep hydrated is drinking green tea throughout the day. It can help you de-stress at work. As well as being linked to preventing flu symptoms – perfect for toughening up your immune system.
6. Load up on Vitamin C
Ever wondered why people rely on citrus fruits when they have a cold? Like berries, citrus fruits are just as important when it comes to strengthening your immune system. And Vitamin C is known to increase the production of white blood cells.
As your body doesn’t produce or store Vitamin C introducing it daily can have major benefits to your health. With so many choices out there such as grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and clementines it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin into any meal. Morning or night.
7. Cut down on sugar
There’s a reason why your mom used to tell you ‘too much sugar is bad for you’ – I mean they are always right. Eating or drinking too much sugar suppresses your immune system cells that break down toxins and bacteria.
Think twice before you down that full-fat coke or tuck into a box of chocolates. As these may be this may be the very reason why you find it difficult to kill off an illness. I’m not saying you have to completely cut out every food containing sugar, as that would be nearly impossible. Opting for brightly colored fruit and veg, such as kiwis, berries, apples, red grapes, kale, sweet potatoes, and carrots will really benefit your health. We all love a treat now and again, but try and limit yourself to 1 chocolate bar instead of three!
8. Have a massage
Sometimes all a girl needs is a little pampering. And a massage is the perfect way to wind down after a long week of work. Massages are known to relieve stress and anxiety. And although it may seem like an unnecessary indulgence, it’s always good to treat yourself when the going gets tough.
It has been shown that just one massage can increase your white blood cell count. Which is an extremely important part of your immune system – we know what we’re doing at the weekend.
What have you tried to improve your immune system? We’d love to know…
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