Winter is coming and so is the cold and flu season. A healthy immune system is vital to ward off nasty bacteria, infections, and viruses. As we age, our immune response capability depletes, which can lead to more infections. So, how do we boost our immune system? Currently, there are no scientifically proven strategies that boost the immune system. However, there are some general healthy-living approaches that can give your immune system the upper hand.
Diet and nourishment
Studies show that people who are malnourished are more susceptible to infections and disease. Therefore, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, and having a balanced diet is a great first step towards supporting a healthy immune system. It’s not just about eating foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. The way we cook our food can also impact nutrient levels. Cooking food for too long at high temperatures can diminish key nutrients. The best cooking methods to retain goodness are steaming and stir-frying. And, if you need some assistance in the kitchen, our personal care service can help with meal preparation.
We’re all aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep. Not only do we feel refreshed, sleeping soundly has many health benefits. It’s another step towards supporting a healthy immune system. Research has found that sleep improves immune cells known as T cells. Sleep deprivation causes these infection-fighting cells and antibodies in the body to decrease. If you find it difficult to get to sleep, there are some things you could try. Relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga may help. Another tip is to play soft music with peaceful rainforest sounds in the background. Increase physical activity during the day, maybe with some gardening. Also, avoid that mid-afternoon nap.
The great outdoors
Spending time outdoors may also help to boost the immune system. Remember those T cells we spoke about earlier? Here they are again. Spending time in the sunlight energises T cells to help fight infection. Being out amongst the flora is also beneficial. Breathing in phytoncides, which are airborne chemicals produced by plants, increases the levels of white blood cells which are needed to fight off infection and disease. Going for a brisk 30-minute walk will promote good blood circulation. This allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely, and do their job more efficiently. Need a helping hand to get out and about in the great outdoors? Our social support service may help. Click here to find a Simply Helping location near you.