Supporting Your Immune System During The Winter Months

As we progress through these uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with flu season rife during the winter months, it is more important the ever to maintain a healthy lifestyle and support your immune system.

Maintaining healthy lifestyle choices during the winter months will help to strengthen your immune system and keep it in top condition.

Here are 6 tips to help strengthen your immune system naturally: 

1 - Exercise

We’re currently allowed to exercise for one hour a day, so let’s make the most of it! Sixty minutes of exercise is only 4% of your day, so what’s stopping you? Moderate exercise can give your immune system the boost it needs. Whether it’s a walk, run or HIIT, all exercise is good exercise.

2 - Diet

Eat the rainbow and feel better for it, and no we don’t mean that well known sweet confectionary. Make your plate as colourful as possible with whole foods. Fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts are all highly rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can help inflammation in your body.

3 - Keep Hydrated

As much as keeping hydrated won’t improve your immune system or protect you from germs and viruses, it will help improve your overall health. It is recommended that you drink a minimum of 2litres of water a day to help prevent headaches, improve your mood and support your digestion and kidneys.

4 - Vitamin D

We usually get our allowance of Vitamin D from sunlight. However, over the past 12 months, many of us have spent more time indoors that we would normally, with our only venture outside either being heading to the shops for essentials or for your allocated hours exercise.

Vitamin D is key to helping keep your muscles and bones healthy. There are a number of foods which have a significant amount of Vitamin D in them, these include:

  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Oily fish including salmon, mackerel and sardines

If you’re not getting enough Vitamin D from your diet, then supplements are also available from your local pharmacy* please consult a GP or Pharmacist for advice on this before taking supplements.

5 - Improve your sleep

Sleep and immunity come hand in hand. To strengthen your immune system, you must improve your quality of sleep. Adults should aim to get at least 7 hours sleep each night, teens need between 8 and 10 hours and infants should ideally have up to 14 hours sleep a night! (Oh, to be a child again, right?!)

Getting a good night sleep can sometimes be difficult due to work, stress, family life etc, but here are some tips to try and get you to switch off to catch those all-important z’s:

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol, instead try having a warm milky drink before bed
  • Try and wind down before getting in to bed. Having a hot bath - which is a great way to relieve stress and tension.
  • Avoid using technology, such as watching TV, using tablets and mobile phones. Swap the tech and try reading a book or doing a jigsaw
  • Sleep at regular times
  • Write a do list, so that you’re not worrying or stressing about things when you’re trying to relax
  • Try keeping a sleep diary to track any habits or daily activities that might contribute to your sleeplessness.

6 – Hygiene

Our final tip is something we all are conscious of at the moment, hygiene. The first line of defence to keep bugs a bay is to follow good personal hygiene habits.

  • Wash your hands – frequent handwashing reduces the spread of germs. It is recommended that we wash our ands for at least 20 seconds to reduce the risk of illness.

Remember, things seem rough at the moment, but we’re all doing the best we can. Keep going, you’re doing great and we’ll all get through this together.