The best ways to stay healthy all year round
Now more than ever before, we must take the utmost care of our health. With the Coronavirus pandemic at large, extra vigilance is needed and many are looking for natural ways to boost their immune system.
In this post, we’re sharing tips to boost the immune system that will not only help you get through COVID-19 but also during the annual flu season.
While getting the flu vaccination is proven to reduce the risk of contracting seasonal flu, it doesn’t hurt to assist your body in natural ways for it to perform at its best.
And flu is just one of many illnesses our bodies are exposed to during the course of our lifetime.
Fortunately, we have our immune system.
An elegant defender of our health, the immune system fights cancer cells, viruses, bacteria and fungi. Most of the time we aren’t even aware that our body has mounted an immune response because the body takes care of things while we get on with our lives.
However, that doesn’t mean we can’t fall sick.
So let’s look at natural ways to keep our immune system strong and effective.
Natural ways to boost your immune system
There are several actions we can take to stay healthy and full of energy.
These tips are all lifestyle-based because often it’s the choices we make day-in and day-out that affect our overall health.
When leading a fast-paced lifestyle, we can get caught up in the bustle and end up feeling stressed, burned out and this can make our bodies vulnerable to illness.
So here are several tips to keep your body and mind functioning at their best.
1. Prioritise quality sleep
High-quality sleep is essential to your body performing at its best. Every area of your health and life is affected by how much sleep you get, and the quality of that sleep.
When you’re asleep, your body works on repairing cell tissue, muscles, organs and produces important hormones and chemicals.
Sleep is our “reset” button that leaves us refreshed and energised to take on the day.
Studies have linked lack of sleep with a compromised immune system, so that’s why it’s essential to get proper shut-eye.
We’re so passionate about helping people sleep better, we’ve written two articles about it.
2. Quit or reduce smoking
Cigarettes are packed with toxic ingredients that are linked to various (often deadly) health conditions. Some of these include lung disease, cardiovascular disease, gum disease, stroke, and cancer, to name a few.
You’re an adult so you have the choice to smoke or not smoke. We just want to mention that quitting smoking can help you stay healthy for longer.
3. Move your body regularly
Our bodies were made to move. Leading a sedentary lifestyle contributes not only to weight gain but also higher chances of catching the common flu or viral infection.
When we exercise the lungs and muscles are at work and our body temperature rises.
Research reveals that when we exercise, the increase in body temperature makes the environment less tolerable for bad bacteria to thrive. This is what happens when the body runs a fever in an attempt to kill the bacteria.
There are many other ways that regular exercise contributes to your immune system functioning optimally. And let’s not forget the mental health benefits of regular exercise as well.
Exercise contributes to higher self-esteem, improved sleep and lowered stress levels.
4. Practice self-care
This isn’t an understatement; some folks get really busy and start work from early in the morning only to end their day much later in the evening.
Once the shift ends, it’s off to collect the kids from daycare or school. Next, get home to attend to homework, chores, making dinner and before you know it, it’s already past 10 or 11 in the evening. Being busy 24/7 will lower your immune system because you’ll be too exhausted.
That’s why self-care is so important for mental and physical health. It’s not selfish to take time to decompress. In fact, your work and your family needs you performing at your best, so you deserve “time off” to recharge your batteries.
For some helpful self-care ideas, click here.
5. Practice good hygiene
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world at large has been made alert about the importance of preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria.
We are all practising sound hygiene practices that include regular and thorough hand washing and the wearing of masks.
Another tip is to cover your mouth when sneezing and coughing – these are common hygiene practices that we should all have been doing all along, but the pandemic has reinforced how important it is to avoid spreading illness to others.
There are many food-borne illnesses as well, so ensure that cooking counters are clean and sanitised along with the tools and equipment you’ll need for prepping food.
While some people prefer undercooked steak and the raw fish that is sushi, taking care as to how your meat is prepared is very important.
Raw meats are the perfect housing situation for bacteria and infectious microorganisms. Always keep raw meat far from other ingredients, such as your salad ingredients.
Use a separate cutting board and immediately sanitise it once you’re done cutting on it.
6. Watch your alcohol intake
Drinking is like smoking: you’re an adult and it’s not our place to tell you to quit. We can mention that too much alcohol affects numerous systems in your body, primarily your liver and your gut.
Enjoy a drink or two, but don’t overindulge because that’s when you’re doing more harm than good.
What foods can help boost your immune system?
Eating healthy, high-quality food is so essential for our survival and good health, we’re putting it into its own category.
There’s a fine line when it comes to eating for sustenance and eating because there’s easy access to food. Your body is built on the food you give it, so it’s important to give it the best.
Having an unhealthy diet will increase your risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. It will also prevent your immune system from functioning at its optimum.
This is because the body has to deal with the challenge of digesting components it should really only have in very small quantities.
We’re talking about the avalanche of processing excessive fat, sugars, and salt among others. Processed foods lack micronutrients such as vitamins needed for a strong immune system.
While many kids hate vegetables and some grow up into veggie-hating adults, it’s best to get your child used to their fruit and vegetables at an early age.
These foods are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which are some of the essential compounds needed for a healthy and strong immune system.
Here are a few of the numerous healthy food options you can incorporate into your diet. This list is a mere sampling of the numerous health-promoting foods available.
Yoghurt is rich in live cultures or probiotics. Eating yoghurt can help to promote a healthy immune system and good health because of its gut-nurturing properties.
With the good bacteria thriving and a healthy environment to live in, it will help you feel better.
Plain yoghurt is always the healthier option, as flavoured varieties are usually packed with added sugar.
If you can’t stomach the taste of plain Greek yoghurt, then add a tiny amount of raw, unfiltered honey and some berries.
Spinach, broccoli, kale
Aahh, spinach, broccoli and kale, the trio you want to have in your diet for all the wholesome health benefits and immune-boosting qualities. These superfoods are high in vitamin C, antioxidants, fibre, and other health-promoting compounds.
Oranges and nectarines are a winter staple because of their immune-boosting Vitamins A, C and E. Best of all, these fruits are reasonably inexpensive and taste delicious too!
Red bell peppers
Bell peppers add a delicious taste to many dishes. Eat it roasted or lightly toasted in a pan, enjoy them stuffed or in a salad either way you’ll reap the delightful benefits.
Not only do they add that Mediterranean flair to your favourite meals, but they’re also really healthy! Peppers contain Vitamin C and beta carotene which aids immune system functioning.
Garlic and ginger
Both garlic and ginger are renowned for their healing and medicinal properties. Both of these ancient root vegetables help to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria.
Eating a tiny piece of raw ginger can help ease a sore throat. Adding garlic to your food not only makes it taste good but also provides you with allicin which is a sulphur-like compound. Allicin reduces inflammation, helps fight infection and boosts the immune system.
Make sure that you have garlic and ginger stocked in your pantry so you can enjoy them regularly.
Closing thoughts on natural ways to boost your immune system
Here at The Health Code, we believe that health and wellness should be our #1 priority. Because without health, energy and vitality, it can be a challenge to enjoy the other wonders of life.
The Coronavirus pandemic has helped people realise that they need to take better care of themselves.
The reality is that the choices we make and the food we consume affects our health in a myriad of ways.
So for the strongest immune system, the best sleep, better concentration and focus and all-round wellness, we urge you to make choices wisely.
“Keep your vitality. A life without health is like a river without water.” – Maxime Lagacé
Get our free Superfood Smoothie Recipe Guide
Click here to get the free guide that shows you the correct ratio of ingredients to make the most delicious and nutritious smoothies.