Having a strong immune system is crucial to stay fit and healthy. The immune system is the body’s best defence system against illnesses and can help support recovery from injuries. There are numerous factors that can affect how efficiently our immune systems work, but there are easy everyday things we can do to help ensure our immune systems are working efficiently.
We have always been told to maintain a balanced diet in order to stay fit and healthy, but to what extent can our diet affect how we fight off colds and other illnesses? A diet full of protein, vitamins and minerals will improve your immune system tremendously. For example, berries (particularly blueberries and cranberries) are jam-packed with antioxidants, which help to prevent certain degenerative diseases and maintain the health of body parts.
Eating the right foods can contribute to the strength of your immune system, through providing all the key nutrients needed to keep bodily functions working properly.
Probiotics (usually found in yoghurt) are a helpful aid in reducing the risk of gastrointestinal infections (tummy bugs).
If you’re interested in learning more about healthy eating, read our super-foods blog post.
The recommended amount of sleep for adults is between 7 to 9 hours a night. Getting the right amount of shut-eye is crucial for your body as it can help ensure it’s in the best condition to be able to fight off any illnesses you may come into contact with.
Whilst you’re sleeping, your body releases hormones that promote the activity of the immune system, another example of why sleep is so important, especially when you are feeling begin to feel under the weather.
Sunshine is not just great for you mood – it can also help boost your vitamin D levels within your body. Vitamin D is essential for helping ensure you’re healthy as it’s used by the body to help operate a healthy immune system. In the UK, it can be hard to get enough Vitamin D, especially in the winter months. Adding a Vitamin D supplement to your diet can be one way of boosting levels - as well as improving you mood and immune system, vitamin D intake is important for the regulation of calcium and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth in the body.
Exercise strengthens your heart by allowing it to pump more blood throughout your body, effectively circulating your white blood cells (which have antibodies!). The more antibodies that are travelling around your body, the quicker they can find infections and illnesses. Exercising can boost the activity of cells that are assigned to attack bacteria. We aren’t suggesting you run a marathon, just light activity – moderate exercise, such as walking for 30 minutes or more a day will help!
Exercise is essential to ensuring your body is fit and healthy. When we exercise our hearts grow in strength and more blood is pumped to our muscles - regular exercise helps prevent health implications such as heart disease.
We all know smoking is harmful to our bodies, but just how damaging is it to our immune system? Firstly, it kills antioxidants which help fight cells responsible for cancer. It also damages and destroys antibodies in the bloodstream meaning smokers are more likely to become ill and remain ill for a longer period of time, in comparison to non-smokers.
It’s no secret that many of us enjoy an alcoholic drink – whether it’s to complement a meal or when socialising at the weekend. Drinking in moderation doesn’t have any long-lasting implications on our health – its excessive use of alcohol that can introduce negative effect to our bodies. Excessive drinking can cause changes in liver functions, making your immune system turn against your body’s own tissue. Alcoholic drinks are also high in sugar which can stop white blood cells’ ability to kill germs. Kick-start your autumn the fresh way by drinking sensibly!
Stress can be extremely harmful to your immune systems function. Laughter is already known to help reduce stress, and therefore indirectly strengthens your immune system – which makes you happier! Positive thoughts and feelings have the potential to release neuropeptides which help fight illness and stress. Research at the University of Maryland has also found that laughter may increase the number of antibodies in your blood and boost immune cells. Top tip – spend time with people who will make you laugh this autumn, it has more health benefits than you may have once thought!
Many health insurance providers reward those who have healthier lifestyles – with lower premium costs and benefits such as half price gym memberships. The healthier you are the less likely you are to claim.
These seven ways should help improve your immunity levels and overall health. However, you never know what could happen, so don’t be caught out. It’s for this reason that we can give you extra peace of mind should something happen to you; make sure you’re covered with appropriate health insurance.
Feel free to contact our friendly team on 0808 10 18 999, who will help you find the perfect policy for you at the best price! Alternatively, just fill in our online form and receive your free, no obligation quote.