7 ways to boost your immunity
This Christmas time make sure you carve out some ‘self-care’ time – never has it been more important to look after both our mental and physical health. Give yourself the gift of good health this season, by using these 7 tips for boosting your immune system NATURALLY.
✓ STEP 1: Eat a diet based on WHOLE FOODS (& keep your gut happy)
There are entire books written on this topic! In a nutshell, try to:
Make WHOLE foods the center of your diet. Especially plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes, which are packed with micronutrients and fibre that help your body defend itself.
Your gut microbiome is a major player in your immune system. You can help keep it healthy and happy by eating enough fibre as well as bolstering it with fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, naturally brined pickles, and kefir!
✓ STEP 2: Watch your sugar
Too much sugar can suppress your immune system. This is just one reason why experts say to limit your added sugar intake to less than 5% of your daily calories. (NOTE: this doesn’t include naturally occurring sugar like the kind found in fruit or dairy products).
What that looks like, according to the NHS:
Adults should have no more than 30g of added sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes).
Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes).
Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes).
This adds up fast!
Just as an example, a 355 ml can of a regular fizzy drink contains 32g of added sugar.
You also should aim to steer clear of processed foods that come in a bag, box, or can and have a long list of ingredients.
✓ STEP 3: Get (and stay) fit!
Most people should shoot for 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like brisk walking, bicycling, jogging, swimming, my Pilates 😉 etc.) every week.
This matters for your immune system because it can help reduce inflammation (which is linked to illness and disease) PLUS promote the healthy turnover of immune cells in your body!
✓ STEP 4: Drink water
Need another reason to make sure you’re getting enough water each day?! Dehydration can actually make you more susceptible to illness!
Exactly how much water you need is constantly being debated, but the NHS promotes drinking six to eight 8-oz glasses of water a day (1.2 - 1.9ltrs) to stay hydrated. This does vary slightly depending on gender, size, activity levels etc, but is a basic guideline to work to.
✓ STEP 5: Get your shut-eye
Sleeping less than 6 hours a night is linked to a higher likelihood of coming down with a cold.
(PLUS: getting enough sleep is also linked with less stress and fewer food cravings.)
✓ STEP 6: Find time to relax.
Long-term stress can create imbalances in the way your immune cells work ... and appears to even SUPPRESS the immune response. Make some time to stop and smell the roses (Or go out and look at Christmas decorations!).
✓ STEP 7: Should you take supplements?
Many supplements (vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.) may help boost your immune system … but please do your research. Get good quality ones and only take the ones you actually need and that you don’t get from other foods. Plus, if you’re thinking of taking them and you have any underlying health issues or take other medication please check with your doctor first.
As I mentioned above, all of these things affect far more than your immune system......
They also play a role in your results, your energy, AND your mood!
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