How to strengthen your immune system
02 June 2020
A strong immune system helps fight off viral infections, so make sure you're doing everything you can to keep it in the best possible condition with these tips.
Taking care of your immune system matters at every age, but especially as you get older. A strong immune system is essential for protecting us from illness and reducing our chances of contracting a viral infection. But luckily, you don't need fancy tips, tricks or supplements to strengthen your immune system - there are plenty of natural ways to improve immunity, from adopting healthy habits to incorporating key immunity-boosting foods into your diet. Read on to find out how to strengthen your immune system fast and keep yourself in tip-top condition.
What is the immune system?
When we refer to the immune system, we're actually talking about a complex network of cells and proteins. This is the body's defence system, and it protects us by fighting against infection. A stronger immune system is better able to fight off and defeat any germs that come into the body, allowing us to stay healthy rather than succumb to illness.
Get plenty of immune-boosting foods
Eating the right foods and prioritising a balanced diet full of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants can help support your body when fighting off infections. Aim for plenty of fruits and vegetables, particularly those packed with vitamin C such as citrus fruits, as well as bell peppers, garlic, blueberries and broccoli. Ingredients containing zinc such as oysters are also helpful, as are foods containing natural probiotics such as yoghurt and kimchi.
Don't forget about drinks too, particularly green tea and matcha tea for powerful antioxidants and homemade 'golden milk' made with turmeric, ginger and calcium-enriched nut milk. Equally, there are certain foods which could upset your immune system and are best avoided (or only enjoyed occasionally). These include high-sugar processed junk foods like doughnuts and candy, as well as fizzy drinks.
Healthy habits to strengthen your immune system
Alongside a diet packed with nourishing foods, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your immune system in top condition. Start by making sure you're at a healthy, balanced weight by eating well and taking regular exercise, as well as getting enough sleep - most experts suggest 7-9 hours per night, with similar bedtimes and wake-up times every day. Limit your exposure to stress and stressful situations as much as you can or use techniques such as meditation and mindfulness to help control your stress levels. Quit smoking if you haven't already and aim to only drink alcohol in moderation.
Easy ways to avoid infection
Another key way to support your immune system is to be aware of avoiding scenarios which might compromise it. This includes following tips for preventing viruses, such as washing your hands regularly and using hand sanitiser, avoiding people who are sick and disinfecting household and personal items that you use on a daily basis like TV remotes, mobile phones and laptops. Remember, if you have any concerns about your health, seek medical advice as soon as possible from a medical professional.
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