Just because it’s Summer doesn’t mean that you won’t sick or catch a cold or even worse, the flu! If you suffer from high stress or frequent illness and your immune system struggles, don’t despair. There’s a whole bunch of feel-good solutions out there that can help you and your family be healthier and avoid getting any nasty bugs.
1. Eat your green vegetables! Yes, I’m sure you already know it and have heard it a gazillion times, but green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins that help support a healthy immune system. According to a study, eating cruciferous vegetables sends a chemical signal to the body that boosts specific cell-surface proteins necessary for efficient immune-system function.
2. Get more Vitamin D Yes, we should all be careful in the sun and do the slip, slop and slap, but reports indicate that many people fall short of their daily vitamin D requirements. Deficiencies in vitamin D may lead to symptoms such as poor bone growth, cardiovascular problems, and a weak immune system. Results from a study published in the journal Paediatrics suggests that all children should be checked for adequate vitamin D levels. This is especially important for those with dark skin, since they don’t get vitamin D as easily from exposure to sunlight. You can also eat more foods that are good sources of vitamin D like egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon, canned tuna, and beef liver. If you need to supplement, choose one that contains D3 (cholecalciferol), since it’s better at raising your blood levels of vitamin D.
3. Keep moving Stay active by following a regular exercise routine. Even walking three times a week will keep you fit and trim. Regular exercise has also been shown to:
keep inflammation and chronic disease at bay
reduces stress and the release of stress-related hormones
accelerate the circulation of disease-fighting white blood cells (WBCs), which helps the body fight the common cold
4. Get plenty of sleep Getting adequate sleep is extremely important if you’ve been exposed to a virus, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Healthy adults who slept a minimum of eight hours each night over a two-week period showed a greater resistance to the virus. Those who slept seven hours or less each night were about three percent more likely to develop the virus after exposure.
One reason may be that the body releases cytokines during extended periods of sleep. Cytokines are a type of protein. They help the body fight infection by regulating the immune system.
5. Limit your alcohol consumption
New research shows that drinking alcohol can damage the body’s dendritic cells, a vital component of the immune system. An increase in alcohol consumption over time can increase a person’s exposure to bacterial and viral infections. Doctors say the study helps explain why vaccines are less effective for people with alcohol addiction. Remember - a glass of wine is fine BUT not all the time.
6. Calm down For years, doctors suspected there was a connection between chronic mental stress and physical illness. Finding an effective way to regulate personal stress may go a long way toward better overall health. Cortisol helps the body fight inflammation and disease. The constant release of the hormone in people who are chronically stressed lessens its overall effectiveness. This can result in increased inflammation and disease, as well as a less effective immune system.
Try practicing yoga or meditation to help relieve stress, make a soothing smoothie with our awesome Stress Relief superfood infusion.
7. Drink green tea For centuries, green tea has been associated with good health. Green tea’s health benefits may be due to its high level of antioxidants, called flavonoids. Several fresh-brewed cups a day can lead to potential health benefits. These include lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. So put the kettle on and drink up the benefits.
8. Add colour to your meals Your greens isn’t the only one to help boost your immune system, eating and cooking with all colours of the rainbow will help you get a wide range of vitamins, such as vitamin C. While there’s no evidence that vitamin C can reduce the severity or length of illness, studies show that it may help the immune system ward off colds and flus, especially in those who are stressed. Don’t think just popping a vitamin C tablet will keep you covered though, this study used natural fresh fruit and vegetables - not synthetic tablets.
But if you have trouble eating your fruits and vegetables at every meal, try our BOOST Superfood Infusion at least you can be assured it’s a 100% natural food - not a synthetic man-made, chemically derived tablet!
9. Be social
Doctors have long seen a connection between chronic disease and loneliness, especially in people recovering from heart surgery. Some health authorities even consider social isolation a risk factor for chronic diseases and suggests that social isolation may increase stress, which slows the body’s immune response and ability to heal quickly.
10. Get a flu vaccine
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all people over six months of age get a yearly flu vaccine. However, exceptions should be made for certain people, including those who have severe allergic reactions to chicken eggs. A severe allergy leads to symptoms such as hives or anaphylaxis. People who have had severe reactions to influenza vaccinations in the past should also avoid yearly vaccines. In very rare instances, the vaccine may lead to the development of Guillain-Barré syndrome so best to speak to your Doctor or health professional.
11. Practice good hygiene
Limiting your exposure to illness by avoiding germs is key to remaining healthy. Here are some other ways you and your family can practice good hygiene:
Wash your hands before eating or preparing food.
Wash your hands before inserting contact lenses or performing any other activity that brings you in contact with the eyes or mouth.
Wash your hands for 20 seconds and scrub under your fingernails.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
Carry an alcohol-based hand cleaner for on-the-go use. Disinfect shared surfaces, such as keyboards, telephones, doorknobs, and remote controls.
12. Keep it personal Viruses can generally survive on surfaces for 24 hours, according to the National Health Service. That leaves plenty of time for germs to spread among family members. Just one sick child can pass an illness to your entire family in the right setting. So avoid sharing germs by keeping personal items separate. These items include:
Wash contaminated items — especially toys that are shared — in hot, soapy water. When in doubt, opt for disposable drinking cups, utensils, and towels.
Take home message Staying healthy is more than just practicing a few good techniques when you don’t feel well. It involves regular exercise, healthy foods, and staying hydrated throughout the day. Your body works hard to keep you moving and active, so make sure your nourish it to remain in tip-top shape!