Although Christmas celebrations have been and gone, we’re still experiencing the delights of winter weather and cold temperatures. Although it’s fun to get wrapped up and enjoy time outdoors (when it’s not raining or snowing!), or get cosied up in front of a burning fire, this time of year can play havoc with our immune systems.
Our lifestyle, what we eat and how we treat our bodies has an impact on how effective our immune system is. Don’t underestimate this powerful bodily function, which helps to fight off colds and viruses and plays a significant part in how you feel and how your body performs.
In collaboration with Alive! to celebrate the launch of their new Immune Support Soft Jells, I have listed some of my top immune boosting tips to incorporate into your lifestyle to help keep the bugs at bay.
Boost your superfood intake
In particular, berries and green vegetables like blueberries, spinach, kale and cranberries are all high in vitamin C to help fight off infection. All are rich in flavonoids, antioxidants and polyphenols, which all play a role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
If you’re not a fan of eating these types of fruits and vegetables, why not blend them up into a juice so you can still reap the benefits? Adding a spoonful of a superfood powder like spirulina, chlorella or acai berry (I’d highly recommend Kaizen Living) offers an even higher nutrient boost if you’re really keen to rid any lurgies!
Get enough rest
Don’t underestimate the power of sleep when it comes to keeping your immune system healthy. You may be burning the candle at both ends, so it’s even more important to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night. If you’re not getting enough, this can depress your immune system, which makes it easier for you to pick up colds and infections.
Sip, sip and sip some more
It might not be the most exciting thing in the world, but make sure you are drinking enough water and hitting the recommended minimum of 8 cups a day. Keeping your body hydrated helps to flush out bad toxins and carries nutrients to blood cells.
Be warned that coffee and other caffeinated drinks can act as a diuretic, meaning your body can lose fluids, so don’t count these as part of your daily fluid intake. Stick to herbal, caffeine-free teas, or water diffused with fresh lemon, lime and oranges plus fresh ginger to make it more interesting and enjoyable to drink.
Chill out and relax
Just as getting enough sleep is important, so is making time to relax. If you’re feeling stressed, over a long period of time this can lead to high blood pressure, depression or anxiety, all of which greatly can greatly affect both your digestive and immune systems. Take some time out each day to focus on something you enjoy, whether that’s watching a film, reading a book, taking a bath or exercising, to reduce your stress levels and help you to sleep better.
Get your heart pumping
Regular exercise not only helps to improve your overall fitness, it can also help to boost your immunity and prevent colds by flushing bacteria out of the lungs and airways. Being physically active causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells, making them circulate more rapidly so they detect illnesses earlier.
The rise in body temperature throughout exercising can also help to prevent bacteria from growing, helping to fight infection more effectively, while also lowering stress hormones to protect against illnesses.
Try to fit in 20-30 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day, from going to the gym or getting out in the fresh air for a walk or bike ride – just enough to increase your heart rate and get the blood pumping around your body. However, be careful not to overdo it as too much can actually decrease the amount of blood cells and increase stress-related hormones!
Max up your Vitamin D
From oily fish to eggs, or even getting a daily dose of sunshine (when possible during the winter months!), keeping your Vitamin D levels up is a beneficial way of keeping your immune system healthy and supporting your body’s responses to infection.
Spice up your life
The power of some spices have been linked to optimising our response to diseases and infections. Cinnamon has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, and actually fights the pathogens that cause illness. Likewise, ginger offers powerful anti-inflammatory compounds while also helping to fight bacteria, fungi and improves circulation.
Because both spices are so versatile and taste great in many things, from adding to porridge, coffee, baking and sprinkled over fruit, boosting your intake doesn’t feel too much like a chore!
Up your nutrients with Alive!
If time is short but you want to make sure your vitamin and mineral levels are hitting the required daily amount, you’ll be pleased to know that Alive! Soft Jells are a brand new range of Multi-Vitamins and Minerals from Nature’s Way, available in 5 variants for all of the family:
- Women’s Energy
- Women’s 50+
- Men’s Energy
- Immune Support
I have personally been taking the Immune Support chewable jells in the hope of fighting off colds that seem to be circulating around Manchester at the moment. What’s great about these is their delicious natural orange and berry fruit flavours and that they’re made with Black Elderberry Extract which has been associated with immune-boosting properties. Plus each serving contains 100% NRV of Vitamins C, D and Zinc, all of which contribute to the normal function of the immune system.
Alongside this, the jell tablets have been formulated with Vitamins B6 and A to further support the immune system, while Vitamins C and E work together as antioxidants to support everyday defence. Basically these bad boys have everything you need in a tasty form!