I hate to say it and I know you don’t want to think about it just yet, but the nights are definitely drawing in. It’s going to get colder, and winter will soon be upon us, the season of chills, colds, and debating whether or not it’s time to put on the heating.
However, we’re not quite there yet. Autumn is here: that means it’s time to crunch through fallen leaves and sip hot chocolate in a bobble hat.
Autumn is also the perfect time to look at boosting our immune system before winter hits.
Of course, a healthy immune system is necessary all year around but it’s super important in the winter, as we spend so much time indoors and cold and flu bugs (and/or pandemics) run riot.
Our immune system is what helps us fight off illness and keep our bodies functioning, but it can’t do it all alone. So to give yourself a boost, here are ten things you can do to help strengthen your immune system.
What is our immune system?
Our immune system is made from two parts. The first, or innate immune system, is the one with which we are born. It provides a rapid response to engulf any cells that threaten the body.
The second part of our immune system is acquired over time, and involves developing antibodies which are designed to fight specific illnesses. In order for this to work, the body must be exposed to the illness, so that the innate immune system and the acquired immune system can create the antibodies. This is how we build a natural immunity or decreased reaction to certain maladies.
How to boost your immune system
Keeping our immune system strong is vital to keeping ourselves healthy, and it can be damaged by a number of factors - including ageing, lack of exercise, an imbalanced or unhealthy diet, stress, and anxiety. Combating all of these things whilst juggling life can seem a bit daunting, but sometimes it’s the smallest things done consistently that can help us the most. Here are 10 of the best ways to improve and strengthen your immune system:
- Vitamin C - Citrus fruits and red peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C, which helps to support your immune system by increasing your white blood cells. As the body can’t produce Vitamin C, it’s important to get some every day!
- Greens - We can’t stress this enough. Greens are good. Greens are great! Steam them, stick them in a smoothie, munch on them raw, the less cooking the better! Greens like broccoli and spinach are full to the brim with vitamins and minerals, making them super good for boosting your vitality and your immune system. Try Vivo Life’s immune-boosting THRIVE Greens Powder & Multivitamins supplement to get all the greens you need - it’s packed full of a plant-based blend of vitamins, minerals, probiotics, fruits and greens to support optimal health and immune function.
- Sleep - Not getting enough sleep is likely to make you more likely to get ill. When you’re sick, you’ll sleep more to help your body focus on fighting off whatever is making you unwell. So, it stands to reason that getting a good amount of sleep every night will help to boost your natural immunity, as your body can repair itself whilst you dream of sunlit beaches and other such delights. Adults need 7 hours or more, typically. Try setting a bedtime alarm to give yourself some time to wind down and relax. Check out our 5 Ways to Improve Your Sleep guide for more tips and advice on getting a great night’s rest.
- Exercise - A healthy exercise routine can give your immune system a boost. Regular exercise can also help to regenerate the cells within your immune system, and help to target inflammation. It also makes you feel good and improves your muscles, joints and organs - what’s not to love! Get out there and get a bit of a sweat on!
- Maximise your wellbeing - Stress not only has a negative effect on your mental health, it can also have a direct impact on your physical health. Long term mental stress creates a response within the body which, in turn, suppresses the immune system. Many different things can cause stress, giving yourself the opportunity to relax however feels comfortable to you is important. Whether this is meditation, a walk, a bath with a good book or just simply letting yourself be for a while, taking some time out for you can really improve your physical, mental and emotional health. We explain 21 ways to beat stress here.
- Iron - Iron is closely linked to immunity. Having a deficiency in iron can lead to a condition called anaemia which lowers the amount of red blood cells the body can create. The body relies on red blood cells to carry oxygen to all the vital organs and systems of the body. Without a good supply of iron in our system, the body becomes more susceptible to illness. Greens to the rescue again! Dark, leafy greens are full of iron and can help to maintain those levels, preventing a drop off in your immune function.
- Stay hydrated - This one speaks for itself really. Humans are mainly made of water, and we can’t go long without it before we start to suffer. Drinking an adequate amount of water each day will only serve your body well.. Alternatively, if you’re feeling like you need a breather, take 10 minutes out with a cup of green tea. Its antioxidant properties will leave you feeling refreshed and will give you an energy boost.
- Eat the rainbow - Find out more about immune boosting superfoods and how they can help boost your immune system and banish the blues. A whole foods plant based diet is full of all of the important nutrients you need. Try to avoid consuming too much processed and refined food (although, moderation is key).
- Supplement - If you’re struggling to fit everything in, but you still want to keep yourself healthy, try using a supplement! Vivo Life’s THRIVE Greens Multivitamin Supplement is packed with essential vitamins and minerals which support a healthy immune system.
- Listen to yourself - The most important thing any of us can do is listen to our bodies, learn what they’re trying to tell you, and act on it accordingly. Make sure you’re nourishing yourself in the way that works for you, mind, body and soul. Building a simple routine around your health needs might not sound like much, but it will have you happy and healthy in no time.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, a green smoothie and a walk is calling before the colder days set in and I’m forced to curl up with hot chocolate and a blanket watching the seasons change.