Top tips to boost your immunity
At the moment, everyone understandably has a strong interest in staying healthy. Of course, no supplement, diet, or lifestyle change (other than social distancing and proper hygiene) can stop you from catching Covid-19, but having a strong immune system could help your body fight it off. We’ve put together these tips for boosting your natural immunity and staying healthy during these strange times, and beyond.
Get enough sleep
Sleep and immunity are closely linked, so adults should try to get 7 or more hours each night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, build regular exercise into your routine and go to bed at the same time each night to help create a better sleep pattern. Limiting your screen time in the hour before going to bed may help too, as the light from your phone, TV and computer can disrupt your body’s natural cycle.
Check your diet
A diet rich in whole plant foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes will contain nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants that naturally boost your immune system. This is why your 5 a day is so important! Go for a wide variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, including berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes and carrots. The fibre in whole foods also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut – and when their levels are high, so is your immunity. You can boost your gut health further by taking a probiotic supplement or eating more fermented foods like sauerkraut, miso, kefir and kimchi. Other foods that are particularly good for your immune system include fresh garlic and ginger. You may like to read our superfood blog for ideas and recipes!
Curb your sugar intake too. Eating or drinking too much sugar suppresses immune system cells that attack bacteria. Aim to keep your sugar intake under 5% of your daily calories - for someone on a 2000-calorie diet, this is about 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of sugar.
Manage your stress levels
It’s understandable to be stressed in these strange and uncertain times, but chronic (continued) stress exposes your body to a steady stream of hormones that affect the immune system. Although you may not be able to get rid of your stress, you can get better at managing it. Exercise is a great way to work off some steam and boost your happy hormones, endorphins. Mindfulness practices activities like meditation, journalling, gardening, drawing and yoga can also help relieve stress and anxiety to keep your immune system functioning properly.
As well as aiding reducing stress and better sleep, regular moderate exercise such as brisk walking, cycling, jogging or swimming helps your immune cells regenerate. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or roughly 30 minutes per day – why not use our free Places Locker app to track and support the activity you do? Its built-in GPS system tracks you when you’re walking, running or cycling, and there are lots of home workouts on the Virtual Studio to suit all ages and abilities, whether your goal is stress busting, weight management or simply moving a bit more.
Your lifestyle can affect how well your immune system can protect you from germs, viruses, and chronic illness, so it has never been more important to eating well, get adequate sleep, manage your stress levels and build regular exercise into your routine.