As the weather begins to change, and our communication channels are flooded with the threat and spread of coronavirus, you might be wondering what measures you can take to better your immune system and put yourself in the best position possible to fight off infections, if and when they come knocking. Whether it be coronavirus, or just the common cold, maintaining a healthy immune system could save you from days of misery.
We’ve compiled a list of ways you can boost your immune system and better your chances of staying healthy, happy and infection free this winter!
Eat your fruit and veggies!
Be sure to incorporate a multitude of fruits and vegetables into your diet. The immune system needs regular nourishment in order to produce white blood cells and function to the best of its ability, according to an article published by the Harvard Medical School, people who are malnourished are more susceptible to infectious diseases. Here’s a few food we recommend including in your diet:
- Blueberries - a great source of antioxidant
- Broccoli - High in vitamin C
- Spinach - Vitamin C and E
- Ginger - Anti-inflammatory and antioxidative properties
- Mushrooms - Vitamin B and Selenium
This one can be easier said than done, depending on what's going on in your life, but many scientific studies indicate stress has an adverse effect on immune system functions. When we’re stressed our immune systems ability to fight off infection is decreased, making us more susceptible to viral or respiratory infection, and even stomach flu. A great way to reduce stress is to practice mindfulness or meditation, and if you need some guidance to get you started, we recommend Headspace as a platform.
Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
Excessive drinking and smoking are not good for your health in any way, and the immune system is no different. Alcohol actually disrupts the gut barrier, allowing more bacteria to pass into the bloodstream, therefore decreasing your body’s immune response function. Likewise, smoking decreases protective antioxidant levels in the bloodstream, such as Vitamin C, and make us more susceptible to respiratory and viral infection such as influenza. To find out more, read this article published by the Victorian Government click here, or call the Quitline on 13 78 48.
Get a good night's sleep
Sleep plays a very important role in our overall health, and our immune function is no different. When we sleep a protein called cytokines is released, and this is what fights infection and inflammation in our bodies. Without adequate sleep, and low levels of cytokines, we’re likely to be more susceptible to nasty viruses! The Sleep Foundation has some great recommendations on how you can ensure you get your eight hours of shuteye, to find out more click here.
Take preventative measures
Viral, bacterial and respiratory infections are all highly contagious and being over cautious with your hygiene could mean you don’t catch a cold, or more serious infection. Wash your hands regularly, especially after being in high traffic public environments such as public transport. Having an alcohol based hand sanitiser in close reach is also a great idea. Avoid touching your face, or having too much contact with others. If you do feel unwell, ayre on the side of caution and stay home in isolation, so as not to infect others. We recommend green tea and chicken soup, and a good Netflix series!
Although we can never 100% be safe from contagious viral infections, we can better our health and wellbeing to boost our immune system and help fight off infections. Now, more than ever, it’s important to put health first.