Posted on March 1, 2019
Five ways to give your immune system a boost
Sneezes and sniffles are the soundtrack to the season. But if you want to avoid getting a cold this winter, there are some simple tricks you could try. Follow these five tips to give your immune system a natural boost.
1. Don’t forget your vitamins
Vitamins can help you stay healthy all year round, but in the winter they are particularly important for preventing infection.
Vitamin A, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 all contribute to the normal function of the immune system, whilst vitamin C can help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
Make sure your diet contains plenty of vitamin-rich foods, or try a supplement to boost your vitamin levels and give your immune system a helping hand.
2. Swap comforting carbs for fruit and veg
It might not be the season for salads and fresh bowls of fruit, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your five a day. Packed full of vitamins and minerals, fruit and veg are the best friends of your immune system.
Fill your plate with fruit and veg of different colours to introduce a wider variety of nutrients into your diet. Many of the natural compounds that give fruit and vegetables their colour are antioxidants, so try to be more colourful in your cooking.
Warming soups and stews are a winter staple, and can be filled with tasty veggies. They are also handy for hiding vegetables from picky eaters. Winter veg like carrots, parsnips, swede and turnips are versatile and delicious – try them mashed, roasted or even in a curry.
3. Get a good night’s sleep
Lack of sunlight during winter can disrupt our sleeping pattern, making us feel sluggish. Sleep deprivation can also suppress the function of your immune system. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.
Avoid screen time for an hour before bed, swapping scrolling on your phone for reading or meditation. The more relaxed and less stressed you feel, the better rested you will be in the morning.
4. Breakfast boost
Skipping breakfast will make you more likely to snack, and unless you have some healthy options to hand, that could lead you to sugary treats.
Instead, start your day with a bowl of porridge. Full of fibre, it will help you feel fuller for longer. Oats also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals that your immune system will love.
Add sliced fruit or berries to your bowl to boost your five a day, or swirl in some active rainforest honey to sweeten your breakfast.
5. Lace up your trainers
As well as helping you maintain a healthy weight and benefitting your mental health, regular exercise will also support your immune system.
Whether you take a winter walk, go for a run or do a spot of cycling, keeping active throughout the winter will help reduce your risk of catching a cold.
If you are considering joining a gym so you can stay warm during your winter workouts, most gyms offer free one-day passes so you can see if it works for you before signing up.