Most of us often wonder what we can do to look after our health. Our immune systems, in particular, play a vital role in helping us stay protected. The immune system is made up of cells that fend off harmful germs and bacteria to stop us from falling ill. Our lifestyles – and how we look after our mind and body, affect our immune system. This helpful guide will show you some simple steps to follow to help keep your immune system happy and healthy.
Minimise Your Stress Levels
Your mental health heavily impacts your immune system. You may notice that when you are experiencing heightened stress, your heart races faster than usual, and your muscles tense up. This is because our brain triggers a “fight or flight” mode. Although stress can feel very short-lived, if you experience it regularly, it can start to negatively impact your immune system. When we are stressed, our immune systems struggle to fight off antigens, which increases our risk of infections. So, what can we do to lower our stress levels? You can engage in a range of destressing activities, which you can seek inspiration from online. Surround yourself with the people you love and find ways to relax, like reading a book.
Maintain A Balanced Diet
We are all guilty of having days when our diet is not the best. We might have indulged in some junk food after a heavy night out or been eating treats for the week on holiday. We are all human and like to enjoy the foods we love in life. However, when it comes to the bad stuff, we must eat it in moderation. If you find that you are eating more bad foods than good, it is time to make a change. A healthy meal plan for a week consisting of many colourful fruits and vegetables is an excellent place to start. Incorporate protein-rich foods like fish, nuts, and tofu. It is all about giving your immune system the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to function.
Avoid Drinking Alcohol In Excess
Going out with your friends and having a few drinks is important for your social life. However, it is vital to be aware that alcohol can negatively affect our immune system. It reduces the body’s chance to fight off infection. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to give up alcohol altogether. However, much like junk food, we must have it in moderation. Avoid drinking excessively and limit your number of nights out each month. Your immune system will thank you for it. If you struggle to cut down your alcohol intake, set yourself a goal to work towards. For example, if you manage to go alcohol-free for one week, treat yourself to something nice if you hit your goal at the end of the week. It can give you the motivation you need to reduce your alcohol intake.
Becoming more active in your daily life stimulates the growth of immune cells. It helps them travel around the body, and they last much longer in your body once you have finished exercising. This means your body can fight off germs and diseases for longer than usual. Most people have busy lifestyles and will struggle to fit exercise into their daily routine. However, there are so many options for training that you are bound to find something that works for you. For example, you don’t need a gym membership to stay active; you can decide to walk to work – or engage in an at-home workout instead. There are plenty of alternative ways that you can remain fit and healthy. Look online for some workout inspiration.
Attend Regular Doctors' Appointments
Attending regular doctor’s appointments is vital for your health. Even though you may feel well within yourself, you could be suffering from an underlying health issue you are unaware of, like an autoimmune disease. Many autoimmune diseases exist, like Lupus, which causes inflammation in various parts of your body. Although there is no cure for a condition like Lupus, multiple treatments can help ease your symptoms. You can find out more about Lupus and other autoimmune diseases by referring to some online articles. If you do need to miss your doctor's appointment, always make sure you reschedule it. An appointment is an opportunity for you also to address any health concerns you may have.
Although this step does not apply to everyone, it cannot be stressed enough. Smoking has many adverse effects on our bodies – and can weaken the immune system. It is also thought that the toxic chemicals in a cigarette can affect your gut, which will also impact your immune system functions. Understandably, quitting smoking can be tough for most people. However, there is a way out. Talk to your doctor, who will be able to give you some helpful quit smoking advice. It is also a good idea to get involved in smoking forums online. Speaking to people going through the same journey can give you the motivation you need to carry on.
Ensure Your Are Getting Enough Sleep
You may be surprised at just how much sleep can affect your health. Lack of sleep can reduce the number of immune cells in our body, gradually weakening the immune system. This means you will become more susceptible to infections and diseases. The solution is to get a healthy sleep pattern underway. However, this can be easier to achieve for some than for others. If you do struggle to sleep, you are not alone. Statistics show that 7.5 million Brits have under five hours of sleep each night. The recommended time to sleep is around eight hours. If you struggle to sleep, create your own night-time routine. Find activities that relax you – to help you get in the right frame of mind to drift off.
There are plenty of vitamins and minerals that will help boost our immune systems. Vitamin A, C, D, E, and Iron are just some examples. If you struggle to incorporate foods rich in these vitamins and minerals into your diet, consider taking supplements to up your intake. This will require a lot of research, as you want to ensure you are putting the right things into your body. Don’t hesitate to take a trip down to your local chemist and ask them for their recommendations. Avoid taking supplements without medical advice. If you have not taken them before, don't buy supplements online. There are plenty of health stores on the high street where you will be able to get the guidance you need.
Prioritise Your Gut Health
A happy gut is vital for a healthy immune system. It is thought that the majority of our immune system lies within the gut. Luckily, there is plenty that we can do to keep our gut healthy. Some options include regular exercise, a balanced diet, and reduced stress levels. The key is to eat foods that are kind to our bodies. Be aware of any food intolerances that you have and avoid these foods in your everyday diet. If you suspect that you have a food intolerance – but are unsure, consult with your doctor, who will be able to help you. Take a look at the list of gut health foods online. Almonds, yoghurt, and almond oil are some that you may already be familiar with.