Boost your immune system

As the season of tummy bugs and common colds approaches, try these ways to give your immune system a boost

Your immune system is your BODYguard! It helps you fend off infection so you stand a better chance of avoiding illness. Obviously there are times when nothing is going to stop you getting sick, but just a few simple changes to your daily lifestyle can help keep your system fighting fit.

Get enough sleep

Sleep is important to help your mind and body reboot overnight. How much sleep each person needs does vary, but it tends to be around at least six hours each night, and for quality sleep, a good daily routine is essential. Discover how to create the perfect bedroom for the perfect night’s sleep.

Exercise regularly

Exercising so your heart rate increases for 20 minutes just three times a week is associated with improved immune function, and a brisk walk five days a week can help reduce your risk of catching a cold. Exercise also is associated with increased release of endorphins, natural hormones that pump up your sense of wellbeing. No time to get to the gym? No problem. Check out our easy ways to keep in shape with exercises at home.

Cut down on sugar and eat well

Sugar suppresses immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria so choose your comfort foods wisely and discover five foods to keep colds away.

Learn to relax

Studies show that over time, chronic stress seems to age the immune system, making you more likely to get a cold or the flu or develop long term problems like diabetes, and heart disease. Everyone has to deal with stress at some point. It’s how you cope with it when it strikes that’s important. Find out more about how to listen to your body.

Stay hydrated

Water is important for nutrient absorption and helping to transport oxygen around the body. It also regulates your body’s temperature and removes toxins from the body.

Smile and laugh

Studies have revealed that smiling when in pain can actually help you feel better. This is because a smile helps release endorphins (which supresses the brain’s awareness of pain) and serotonin (which helps us feel happy) in our bodies. Laughing also decreases the levels of stress hormones in the body while increasing a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Keep smiling!

Listen to music

Tests show that stress hormone levels, which can weaken the immune system, are reduced after we are exposed to music we like (levels of the antibody immunoglobin A, the immune system’s first line of defence, were higher in those who listened to music). Why not move a music player to the kitchen so you can sing along even while you’re doing chores like cooking and washing up?

Finally – see friends!

Researchers in the US have found that a wide social group contributes to a more positive, healthy outlook — and ¬sociable people produce fewer pro-inflammatory chemicals in response to cold viruses. Why not get together with friends and treat yourselves at the same time by planning an at-home spa party?


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