As we emerge from the winter months to see some sunny days on the horizon, it can be easy to start to let good healthy habits slip. However, staying proactive can help to keep our immune system function up!
With coughs and colds being more prevalent during the colder seasons, many of us tend to take better care of our immune systems during this time. Then, as the warmer days roll around, these good habits may begin to fall by the wayside.
Continuing to do the things that keep your body healthy — even when it seems less important — can help to keep you feeling your best. This can also help to build long-lasting physical health that will work to protect you all-year round.
If you aren't sure where to start when it comes to keeping your body — and especially your immune system — healthy, then read on for my top ten tips!
Remember, your immune system is an incredible force in itself, and is likely already doing a great job of defending your body against ill-health! These tips are simply to give yourself a boost and to go the extra mile.
Eat A Healthy Diet
Providing your body with the vitamins, minerals, and the other nutrients it needs to function well is an essential part of all-round good health.
As well as paying attention to the nutrition basics, it can also be beneficial for immune function to ensure you are getting the right micronutrients.
Science has long demonstrated a link between malnutrition and poor immune function. If you are able to take complete control of your diet, then this is a great weapon in the fight against poor health.
A healthy diet should contain an abundance of natural whole foods, whilst also avoiding too many processed and packaged foods.
There has been some suggestion that a deficiency in vitamins A, B6, C, and E can contribute to a compromised immune system. Certain studies have also suggested that lacking folic acid, copper, iron, selenium, and zinc can be a problem too — but further research is needed on the topic to say for sure!
Practice Good Hygiene
Good personal hygiene habits are a simple way to help keep germs out of the body. Simple acts such as washing your hands regularly, living in a clean environment, and being sensible when you are preparing food can go a long way.
When it comes to food preparation, make sure you are always using clean surfaces and wash your hands before you start. You may wish to wash your hands again before you start eating.
Sneezing and coughing into a disposable tissue can also help to contain your own germs, and therefore protect other people.
Smoking is definitely falling out of popularity as the health hazards continue to become more apparent. However, it is still common around the world and can impact how well the immune system is able to work.
Science has shown us that smoking tobacco can decrease how well the body can fight infections and keep disease at bay. There is also evidence to show that smoking can cause the onset of rheumatoid arthritis — an autoimmune disease. When this condition presents, the immune system will be attacking itself, causing pain and swelling in the joints.
Exercise is not only great for your cardiovascular health and blood pressure, but can help to maintain your immune system too.
When you have a regular exercise routine — and stick to it — then you will likely feel healthier in a number of ways. Consistent optimum health will naturally feed into the health of your immune system also.
One of the many benefits of exercise is that it helps to improve the circulatory system. This means that cells are able to flow more effectively around the body. In terms of the immune system, this means that cells are able to get to where they need to be for defence and function.
Prioritise Your Sleep
There are a number of reasons why a lack of decent sleep can lead to poor mental and physical health. Studies have certainly shown that you are more susceptible to certain types of illness if you often do not sleep well, and this can also impact how quickly you are able to recover.
When you are asleep, your immune system releases certain proteins into the body. These proteins — which are called cytokines — help to promote good sleep. These proteins are also helpful to the body when trying to fight infection or reduce inflammation.
When you are not getting enough sleep, your body may begin to decrease production of cytokines, which can then impact how well they can do their job in the body.
There is also much evidence to confirm a link between long-term poor sleep and an increased risk of certain health conditions. Diabetes and heart disease are two such issues.
Many studies have taken place to demonstrate a link between stress levels and immune system function. It is important to keep in mind that when we talk about the impact of stress on the immune system, that this is generally only in relation to chronic stress.
Chronic stress is defined as persistent stress that continues over a prolonged period. This can be seriously harmful to many aspects of physical and mental health.
This is naturally a difficult to quantify in a medical study, but there is evidence to show that chronic stress has an impact on optimum health.
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There You Have It!
I believe that incorporating these ten things into your regular routine can help your body and immune system to function at its best.
As we get older, our immune system will naturally become slightly less responsive. This can put us at a greater risk of infections and more serious health conditions. Giving our bodies all the assistance we can throughout every stage of our lives could help us to live healthier lives in our more senior years!