Health & Fitness

6 easy ways to boost your immune system and not catch the flu

Flu bugs are making the rounds at the moment, so if you’re surrounded by people coughing and sneezing, here are some simple ways to boost your immune system
 

easy ways to boost your immune system and not catch the flu

Image: Corbis

Our immune system is a system instead of a singular component of our bodies, and as such, it requires a balance of various factors to flourish and keep strong. While some people have naturally weaker immune systems than others, there are definitely ways to keep your body energised and healthy, and foods that work best at getting your body in good shape. Here are six easy ways you can feel better and in turn boost your immune system.

Stress less
Keeping stress at bay goes a long way, not just in terms of your happiness, but your immune system too. Stress can weaken your immune system - higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline can suppress your immune system - so you’ll find yourself falling sick more easily. Taking the time to relax and unwind, whether that involves a long hot soak in the tub, meditation, or a movie marathon, can go a long way to keeping your body in tip-top shape. We've even got a list of ways you can de-stress when you don't have the time to take a holiday.

Eat right on the regular
Keeping healthy is all about maintenance. Sure, when you’re falling sick a boost of vitamins and minerals can help you recover better, but instead of waiting unil the last minute to pop a strong Vitamin C, you should be eating a balanced diet full of good vitamins and minerals. Look out for foods packed with antioxidants, vitamins A, C, E, and things like zinc and iron to keep your immune system at its peak. Need some recommendations? Check out some foods that are great for your skin, as well as foods that can help you lose weight.

Get moving
Exercise doesn’t just keep you in shape and looking good. Regular exercise is one of the key components of healthy living. It’s good for your blood pressure, weight, heart health, and can keep you protected from certain diseases. This general good health leads to a generally healthier immune system. We also know that exercise is great for blood circulation, which is how our immune system’s cells travel through the body and get the job done. You don’t have to go all out, just something like a 30 minute walk, jumping rope, using a fitness app or even vigorous housework can get things going.

Sleep enough
Studies have proven that insufficient sleep can make you more susceptible to falling sick, with your body producing fewer antibodies to fight an infection when it’s not well rested. Insufficient sleep is often a cause of stress, overworking, or insomnia, which can increase the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) in our bodies. While most of us know that eight hours is a luxury, our body definitely benefits from at least seven hours. Struggling with getting to sleep every night? We've got some helpful tips for falling asleep.

Keep an eye on your alcohol intake
While a couple of drinks are fine for some and a glass red wine can actually be good for you, studies have proven that excessive drinking can indeed suppress your immune system. It’s no surprise some of us fall sick easily after a series of alcohol-fueled, late nights.

Take care of your gut
Gastro health is a lot more central to our overall well being that we might realise. I once accompanied someone to visit a holistic doctor and watched as the guy diagnosed a series of unwavering head pains. By the end of the session, he was prescribing a diet change and supplements to deal with what he determined was an unbalanced gastro. Taking probiotics has been shown to help with gastrointestinal infections which also helps the immune system.