Do you struggle to keep your immune system working at its best over the colder months? Are you constantly battling colds, coughs and other bugs? Here are 11 tips to boost your immune system.
While there’s been a commonly held theory that being cold, will lead to catching colds, and we’ve all been told to “wrap up warm, or you’ll catch your death,” it’s only recently that studies have actually proven this to be true. When we’re cold, our immune systems first lines of defense are weakened.
It’s thought that when we are cold, our immune system responds to threats more slowly, much like we ourselves respond more slowly to our alarm clocks on a chilly winter’s morning. This sluggish response allows viruses and germs to penetrate our defenses and start to multiply. This little bit of a head start gives them all they need to cause a problem.
It’s also been found that when our bodies are warmer, our cells sacrifice themselves to protect others. As soon as a cell picks up bacteria which will lead to illness, it uses a process called apoptosis to sacrifice itself, thus preventing the spread of infection. When we breathe in the cold air, and the cells in our noses are more chilled, they take longer to do this. Again, giving virus and disease all of the head start it needs.
So, while the cold weather doesn’t actually make you sick, it does weaken your defenses and give those sicknesses a perfect chance to take up home within your body.
11 Tips to Boost Your Immune System
Fortunately, there are some great ways to help yourself. There are so many ways to boost your immune system, give it a kick start and get it back up to its fighting best. Just like you drink your morning coffee to make yourself feel more alert in the mornings.
Warm Your Home
While no one wants to to run up expensive heating bills, it is important for your health that you keep your home warm. For some cost effective solutions try things like thick, lined curtains, draught excluders, and insulation. Keep doors and windows closed and turn your heating on at the right times.
When it gets very cold, you may want to run your heating through the night, at a lower temperature. Nighttime is when your immune system is operating at its lowest, so this is often the time when germs and bacteria take their chance to enter your body. Make sure your bedding is warm and cleaned regularly to protect yourself.
When you’re out and about in bitter winds, it can be hard to keep warm, but the science shows that having a cold nose and face helps disease to take hold. Wrap up warm in plenty of light layers and add a hat scarf and gloves. On freezing days try to only be outside for as long as necessary.
Get Some Exercise
Try to keep your exercise routine up throughout the year. Exercising can be a wonderful way to increase your circulation, raise your body temperature and kick start your cells. Which aids your immune system and gives it the wakeup call it needs.
Another advantage of exercise is that it keeps you strong and healthy. A healthy person who gets plenty of exercise is much more likely to be able to fight off bugs quickly than someone who is unfit and in poor physical condition.
When you are asleep, your body is in recovery mode. It’s repairing itself, resting and getting ready to face the day. Making sure you get plenty of sleep, and rest will give your body the best chance to function at its best.
If you do start to feel yourself getting ill, try to get some extra sleep. While you are asleep, your brain triggers the release of the hormones which boost tissue growth. Which means you create more white blood cells to tackle bacteria and fight disease. Statistically, those who get less than six hours sleep a night are four times more likely to get a cold.
Change Your Diet
Eating well, drinking lots of water and taking an extra supplement are probably the best ways to boost your immune system, as well as being the easiest. Drinking enough water helps to repair your body and keep it working at its best, your immune system included.
When it comes to food, there are many ways to boost your immunity. Try to add foods high in vitamin C, such as fruit and sweet potatoes to your diet, as well as garlic, yogurt, almonds, green vegetables, and ginger. All of which contain immunity boosting vitamins and minerals.
It’s also a good idea to boost your diet with some natural supplements. Consider vitamin C, which helps fight disease and make you feel better, vitamin D, which helps to look after your skin and is essentially when you don’t see as much natural sunlight, and something like shilajit. The benefits of shilajit are massive. It can promote and regulate hormones, boost your immune system, look after your skin, helps improve your memory, look after your heart and can protect against disease.
Reduce the Fat and sugar in Your Diet
Now you’ve added things to your diet; it’s time to take things out. Some fats and sugars are fine. Fruit, for example, is full of fructose, which can give you a natural buzz. But, refined sugars and saturated fats, which are found in snacks and fast foods, are incredibly bad for your body and can have an adverse effect on your immune functions.
If you are still smoking, it’s time to stop. Smoking damages your body in so many ways. Making it much easier to pick up illness and much harder to fight them off when you do. If you need help to stop smoking, contact your doctor or an advice service for help.
Drink Less Alcohol
Like smoking, alcohol damages your body and stops it doing its job as well as it could. Try to stick to the recommended limits and make sure you have a few days each week where you don’t drink at all, to give your body chance to recover.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being over or underweight also hinders your body. If you are significantly over or underweight, your body has to work much harder than usual, just to go about its daily routine. There is a huge focus on losing weight and how obesity can affect your health. But, it can also be difficult to gain weight. If this is something you are struggling with, taking supplements will help your body gets what it needs, but you should consider visiting a nutritionist for advice.
Your first line of defense is to avoid infection in the first place. Do this by practicing good personal hygiene, keeping your clothes and home clean and staying away from anyone that is ill while they are infectious.
Don’t Believe Everything You See Advertised
At this time of year, there are ad everywhere for new chemicals and new medications everywhere. All promising the same; to get rid of your winter bugs and allow you to return to normal life. To help in ways that nothing ever has before. The truth is that a lot of these drugs are the same as each other and the same as they were ten years ago. Their active ingredient is usually a pain killer which you could buy much cheaper without the fancy wrapper. These drugs might make you feel better for a short time, but whether or not they actually help your body to recover is debatable.
You should also be aware that it’s recently been discovered that more expensive, branded products, are often the same as own brand, cheaper options. Sometimes even being made in the same factory. So, before you rush out to buy everything you are offered, check with your doctor, read the labels, check the ingredients and find out what it is they actually do.
Your immune system does a phenomenal job. Just think of everything it’s protection you from all the time. It’s always working, never taking a second off. You only have to look at the problems facing someone with an immune deficiency, or a disease which attacks the immune system, to realize just how well yours has been working. But, the immune system is just that, a system, and sometimes parts of this system fail. Its complex structure means there can be no quick fix, different types of cells need different stimulus to boost them. Which is why individually these things might not have much of an effect.
To Sum it All Up
To truly boost your immune system and make sure it can keep working at its very best, try to implement as many of the above suggestions as you can into your everyday life. Living a healthy lifestyle and giving your body everything it needs is the best way to boost your immunity, stay healthy and live a longer, happier life. So, why not get started today? Before you get that first cold of the season! Winter is coming!