A strong, well-functioning immune system can mobilise quickly and effectively to fight disease and infection, then safely retreat once the mission’s complete. Follow these practical, common-sense tips to help armour plate your defences.
1. Whole and unprocessed food
Make sure your ground troops have the nourishment they need. Whenever you can, choose whole foods with as little processing as possible. Eat a rainbow of vegetables of fruit, good fats like olive oil or avocado, oil fish, unprocessed meat, nuts and whole grains. Get started with our spinach and chickpea curry recipe.
2. Love your gut
Good immune function relies on lots of good bacteria in your gut. Build up with fermented food like natural yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir and miso. Eat plenty of vegetables to keep your good bacteria healthy.
3. Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
All your cells are bathed in fluid that helps to wash away waste. Often as the temperature drops, so does the amount of water we drink. Stay warm and hydrated with tea, stew and soup so you get 6 – 8 glasses a day
4. A breath of fresh air
Being outside strengthens your immune system even in the winter (be sure to wrap up warm), but so far research hasn’t turned up the reason why. Just opening the windows for a while every day can help too. It’s not possible to make all the vitamin D you need to keep your immune system on top form in the British winter, so maybe chat with your GP about a supplement.
5. Rest and relax
Stress hormones suppress your immune system and mess with your digestion. Schedule restful and enjoyable activities as a priority, not the last item on your list. Discover your own personal stress antidote whether that’s yoga, mindfulness, tai chi or creative hobbies.
6. Get a good night’s sleep
During deep sleep your tissues heal and repair. You need enough quality sleep every night to wake up feeling refreshed and rested. Stick to a routine - turn off screens an hour before bed, dim the lights and skip the news. Keep your bedroom calm, cool and dark. And leave out caffeine and alcohol for some good quality shuteye.
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