in our busy lives today, we often feel we have little balance in our overall health, perhaps we're not eating a well-balanced diet or don't have time to exercise or event just a lack of sleep or overstressed. at some points we are able to take stock and relook at our lifestyle habits and make changes to improve them and thus improve our general health.
part of this is strengthening our immune system. the immune system is made up of several parts including, white blood cells, antibodies, complement system, lymphatic system, the spleen, bone marrow and thymus. it is a complex series of actions within our bodies working together to protect our health from viruses and disease.
by making healthier lifestyle choices we can help our immune system to function more efficiently. ways in which we can help our immune system;
- cooking from scratch - using fresh ingredients, plant based foods, proteins, pulses, spices and herbs for our meals.
- vitamin c - increasing our intake of citrus fruits (oranges and lemons), strawberries, peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli. eating vitamin c rich foods regularly is important as the body isn't able to store vitamin c.
- gut flora - eating a varied diet of high fibre foods, pulses and fermented food to increase our microbiome.
- exercise - regular exercise helps to increase our blood flow which helps to mobilise our white cells, used within the immune system.
- vitamin d - usually we are able to get a good level of vitamin d through exposure to the sun and we all benefit from this in the summer months, however during the winter months you may want to consider taking a vitamin d supplement.
- sleep - it plays a large role in keeping our bodies healthy, having regular reduced sleep can have an adverse effect on our immune system. having less sleep means our body make fewer cytokines, a protein that targets inflammation and infection, so try to have a regular sleep pattern aiming for 7 hours of sleep a night!