Boosting your immune system will reduce your chances of picking up any nasty bugs, and if you are already feeling under the weather, will help you recover faster.
The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony. There is still much that researchers don't know about the intricacies and interconnectedness of the immune response, but these general healthy living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.
As the hot weather makes us more susceptible to dehydration, try to have two glasses of water with every meal and sip on a bottle or two of water throughout the day.
Moderate exercise has been linked a positive immune system response and a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. It is believed that regular, consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the long-term. So dust off those running shoes and go for a brisk walk/jog or cycle a few times a week to boost your immune system, metabolism, and energy levels.
Daily stresses can lower the immune system, so getting a good night’s sleep can help to repair and revive the body.
Limit your alcohol intake
Excessive alcohol intake can harm the body's immune system in two ways. First, it prevents the absorption of valuable immune- boosting nutrients and second, like sugar, alcohol consumed in excess can reduce the ability of white cells to kill germs.
High doses of alcohol suppress the ability of the white blood cells to multiply, inhibit the action of killer white cells on cancer cells, and lessen the ability of macrophages to produce tumour necrosis factors.
One standard drink (equivalent to half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine) doesn’t appear to affect the immune system, but three or more drinks do – the damage to the immune system is also proportional to the quantity of alcohol consumed. So if you can’t cut out alcohol completely reduce the amount you are drinking.
Limit your sugar intake
Eating or drinking 100 grams of sugar (the equivalent of one can of soda) can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by 40%. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours. In contrast, the ingestion of complex carbohydrates, or starches, has no effect on the immune system.
Add colour to your plate
The different colours of fruit and veg represent different vitamins and antioxidants. Salads and stir-fry’s are a great way to maximise your vitamin intake.