5 Top Tips to Boost Your Immune System

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As the winter makes way for spring, it’s time to revisit our health and wellness habits, and ensure we’re taking steps to prepare for the new season – whether it’s  freshening up fitness routines or improving diet.

One way we can help keep ourselves in tip top condition is to start by looking at our immune system. We spoke to Well Actually nutritionist Katrina Cepinova who shared her guide on how best to boost our immunity.

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“Strong immunity is like building a sturdy defense wall: We need a good base to build the wall and maintain it, ensuring it stays as strong as possible,” says Katrina. “Our immunity is like our personal army of body guards. It continuously protects us and our body from any internal as well as external invaders.

“The immune system’s job is not always visible for the most part; it functions quietly in the background by activating the so-called immune response, fighting infections, toxins and inflammations caused by pathogens like bacteria, parasites and viruses. To avoid illnesses such as colds and flu, it is therefore very important to ensure that our immune system is strengthened and can respond efficiently,” Katrina adds.

“Poor nutrition, environmental influences and lifestyle choices can weaken or compromise immunity. In a world where new infections such as the COVID 19 virus are continually cropping up, having a robust immune system is vital.”

Here are Katrina’s 5 simple tips on supporting your immune system:

A Well Balanced Diet

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Eat a well balanced diet by keeping your plate full of colour! Aim to include at least 3 different coloured fruit or vegetables in every meal. Red, green, orange, yellow, purple – as many colours as you can find! Many colourful fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, which is a key vitamin in boosting immunity and reducing the severity of infections.

Foods with high vitamin C include kiwi, broccoli, lemons and oranges, just to name a few.

Self Care

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Take some time out for a little self care. Our bodies need time off to recuperate and regenerate. Stress is something everyone feels at times and, in fact, it is proven that low-level stress can even be helpful or motivational. However, too much stress can negatively impact our immune system.

When one is under severe pressure, the body produces cortisol, the stress hormone. Over time, cortisol reduces the number of lymphocytes, or white blood cells, that fight infection in the body.  Take time every day to switch off for at least 20 minutes – whether it’s a stroll around your local park, a relaxing bath, curling up on the couch with a good book, or listening to your favourite podcast.

Boost Your Vitamin D

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Over winter you may have relied on adding vitamin D in a form of foods or supplements due to less sunlight. Sadly, we can only get approximately 10% of vitamin D from food sources so opt for naturally higher sources like oily fish, mushrooms and eggs.

Otherwise, I would highly recommend taking a daily supplement, such as Well Actually’s Liposomal Vitamin D3 and K2 spray, which offers a highly absorbable, bioavailable format of vitamin D in a very palatable, easy to use spray format, convenient for all the family.

Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

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Aside from alcohol being directly linked to affecting our sleep quality, too much consumption of alcohol can damage immune cells in various body parts, making it hard to fight disease-causing pathogens. It also disrupts the balance of gut microbiomes, the healthy bacteria that support the immune system in fighting off infections in the digestive tract.

Avoiding alcohol altogether may not always be possible, so try to at least moderate your alcohol intake to maybe a couple of times a week, and always offset with plenty of water, or again, try taking a daily vitamin D supplement, as it helps with the absorption of minerals such as magnesium. It’s also an excellent option for hangover prevention.

Hit That Snooze Button

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Consistent sleep and getting in enough hours of shut eye every night, can be a massive factor towards ensuring your immune system is fighting fit. Skimping on sleep can significantly affect the immune system and studies show that a lack of sleep also affects recovery from illness, including cold and flu.

A good sleep regime is based on habit, so try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, even on the weekends. Whilst we all know that getting a good night’s sleep can be easier said than done, try making these simple changes and avoid the disruptions of blue light from electronic devices.

A robust immune system plays a fundamental role in maintaining good health and implementing these simple steps can help things along With everyday stress and other demands, there is more pressure on our bodies to keep functioning, so look after your own immunity and it will look after you in return.

Katrina Cepinova.

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Felicity Donohoe