How To Naturally Boost Your Immune System
Ok so 2020 hasn’t perhaps gone to plan and let’s spare a thought for all those that mapped out their 5 year plan in the summer of 2015 (!) There will always be things outside of our control but let’s focus on what you can control and that’s taking care of ourselves. As well as washing your hands regularly, keeping that 2 meters distance and facing the ‘new’ normal, we here at Kanebes wanted to remind you of what else you can do to keep your immune system strong as it’s pretty crucial to a healthy body!
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM – WHAT IS IT?
Our immune system is essential for our survival. Without an immune system, our bodies would be open to attack from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. It is our immune system that keeps us healthy as we drift through this sea of pathogens, so it is incredibly complicated and utterly vital for our survival.
SO HOW CAN WE HELP OURSELVES?
- Drink plenty of water
60 percent of the body is made up of water and our blood is 90 percent water. Water is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions. The bowel needs water to work properly and dehydration can lead to digestive problems and an overly acidic stomach, increasing both the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers. A lack of water can also cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
Although there is not a recommended daily intake staying hydrated is extremely important and the best way to keep drinking water is to always have it near you and strategically place it in easily accessible spots where you spend a lot of time.
- Stay active
If you're like the Kanebes team then you may well have taken up an online fitness “HIIT” workout, given yoga a second chance or decided long brisk walks in the park are better than a 5k run. Whatever it is, keeping fit has and always will be your immune system’s best friend. Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health reducing the risk of a heart attack, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Regular exercise and physical activity promote stronger bones, muscles and joints and lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis. Make sure you drink plenty of water during exercise as not only it boosts performance, but through the process of sweating you’re flushing out body waste
Despite staying fit, being active can make you feel happier and help with relaxation and sleep quality.
- Get a good night’s sleep
Without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut eye.
How can you make sure you’re getting more sleep?
- Sleep at regular times - this will program the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.
- Make sure you wind down before bedtime and avoiding using your phone, tablet and other electronic devices at least an hour before you go to bed; instead try reading a book or listening to music as that relaxes the mind by distracting it
- If all else fails, there’s always sheep counting…
- Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium. Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help destroy free radicals and support the body's natural immune response. Sources of vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes and lemons to name a few!
They are also an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems.
A portion of fruit or vegetables is 80g and almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 a day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juice. However, yams, cassava and potatoes do not count because they mainly contribute starch to the diet...chips, sadly for us all, are not part of your 5 a day...
- Get some Sun
Vitamin D is a hormone that promotes calcium absorption and is essential for bone growth and formation. The Vitamin D found in our body needs activation and the sun helps to convert inactive Vitamin D levels to active. Just make sure not to overdo it as too many rays can result in sunburn or skin cancer. According to the World Health organisation getting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands and face twice or three times a week is enough to reap the Vitamin D boosting benefits of the sun.
So, don’t forget your suntan lotion, or if you are in the UK like the Kanebes team, then you probably don’t have too much to worry about!