In the modern world of aesthetics and extremes, ‘being healthy’ seems to incorporate two primary definitions; looking bloody fantastic and, well, not dying. But our collective health should mean so much more than that; a holistic, wholesome approach to wellbeing and contentment, both in the physical and the mental sphere.

Your immune system is an unsung hero in such an approach; a vital weapon in the fight against viruses that cause colds and flu. Indeed, being under the weather can bring a dark cloud over many aspects of your life, affecting your ability to exercise, socialise, learn and earn. Imperative, then, to keep your body’s defence system war ready at all times. And here’s how; our 5 IDEAL ways to boost your immune system.

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘you are what you eat’? Of course you have. Well, there’s actually more than a modicum of truth surrounding that saying. If you’re serious about getting your immune system strong and sturdy, then it’s your diet you should be focusing on, first and foremost. 

There are particular foods which work wonders for your body’s defence mechanism. Fruit, particularly blueberries (a source of the vital antioxidant anthocyanin) and oranges (vitamin C), can bring serious benefits. Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies, are rich in omega3 and accordingly, bloody good for you. What’s more, a holy triumvirate of South East Asian cooking – ginger, garlic and turmeric – all have properties which are great for your immune system. Green, irony vegetables like spinach and broccoli round off our list. Of course, you should keep your diet colourful and varied, and as always, enjoy everything in moderation.

HARNESS THE POWER OF SUPPLEMENTS

Take a walk to the supplement shelf of your local supermarket and we’re sure you’re wondering the same thing as us; is there a pill here to cure the afflictions of the paradox of choice? Because the sheer variety of supplements now available can leave you in quite the quandary.

Don’t fret. Just remember; it all depends on what you need it for. Get specific and laser focused. If it’s the immune system you’re hoping to help (and that’s why you’re here, right?) then are a few supplements suited specifically for that need. One you might be particularly interested in is cat’s claw, which is enhanced with plant-derived essential oils, Vitamin D and the fatty acid monolaurin, all designed to help protect your immune system.

EXERCISE REGULARLY

You don’t have to be running marathons every day or benching big numbers to boost your immune system. All that’s required is moderate activity and a concerted effort to shift those sedentary tendencies. Sure, regular, dedicated exercise is brilliant for your immune system, but even a brief post dinner stroll each day, standing at your desk rather than sitting, or taking the stairs rather than the lift, can make all the difference.

SLEEP RIGHT

Is there anything those all important zeds can’t do? Apparently not. It seems like you can’t even wink 40 times in 2019 without another article on the value of sleep. A sterling seven to eight hours between the sheets has been credited as a low mood alleviator, brain cell repairer, pain reliever, blood pressure reducer, clarity giver and just about any other benefit you can dream up. 

And yep, you guessed it, your immune system benefits hugely from a decent sleep, too. Studies have shown that skimping on your sleep can have hugely adverse effects on your body’s natural defence, impacting its ability to produce cykotines, a protein vital in your immune response. Put blunty, take your sleep for granted and you’re more likely to get sick. End of.

STOP SMOKING

By now we should all know the positive impact stopping smoking can have on our lives, not only in boosting your immune system. And it’s an all encompassing, known on kinda impact, too. For example, quitting the cigs will have you feeling more energetic. This’ll lead to more physical activity, which will feel more manageable. This in turn will raise endorphins and your mood and you’ll look and feel better. And on it goes. 

Anyway, a knock on effect of this prolific exercise is that your immune system will be given a serious boost. The improved circulation, increased oxygen levels and decreased inflammation associated with stubbing out the fags for good is also great for your body’s natural defences. And the end result? You’ll be fighting off the colds and flu with far greater gusto.

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