5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Immune System this Winter.
The temperature is beginning to drop (hello slippers and hot water bottles!) and already we are starting to see Christmas decorations appear in shops & this can mean only one thing – winter is swiftly approaching! Winter can be a great time filled with crisp clear mornings, hibernating on cold nights and of course, Christmas. Sadly the cold and predictably wet weather can also lead to a drop in health and a rise in colds and flu. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to boost your immunity and stay healthy this season.
Firstly, what does our immune system do?
The immune system is our body’s defense against illness, bacteria, and infection. It is able to recognise what is allowed into our body and what isn’t, similar to a doorman outside a club on a Saturday night! It destroys the potentially harmful parasites and germs that we come into contact with every day and so generally keeps us pretty fit and healthy. Again, just like the doorman however, the immune system sometimes makes mistakes and can react to harmless invaders entering the body such as pollen in the case of hay fever. Generally, however, our immune system is really helpful in keeping the good bacteria and removing the bad bacteria.
The immune system is made up of a network of tissue, cells and organs that collaborate and work together to keep us healthy in the defense against germs. The immune system blocks out the harmful bacteria but if any does manage to slip through, white blood cells are produced that attack and destroy the invader before it can multiply. Pretty clever stuff!
The major components of the immune system are:
- Antibodies, white blood cells and other proteins and chemicals which destroy harmful bacteria & viruses.
- The tonsils and thymus which produce the antibodies.
- The lymphatic system which comprises of lymph nodes and vessels. Lymph nodes filter lymph fluid trapping viruses and bacteria which can then be destroyed.
- Bone marrow which is made up of red marrow and produces red and white blood cells.
- The spleen which filters blood by removing old damaged cells and platelets.
5 easy ways to boost your immune system
1.Sleep – Sleep deprivation causes an increase in the hormone Cortisol which over a prolonged period can lead to suppressed immunity. Make sleep your priority!
2.Quit smoking – Tobacco smoke lessens the immune system defenses as well as raising the risk of cancer and other health issues. May seem obvious but I know its have never said it explicitly here, but all forms of smoking are terrible for you – unless we area talking salmon or mackerel;)
3.Limit alcohol intake – Excessive alcohol consumption over a prolonged period can weaken the immune system. I am a single malt whiskey fan but I limited it to once a week max!
4.Enjoy a healthy varied diet – A healthy diet containing plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds will provide you with the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Dietary supplements such as Vitamin C & Vitamin D and Echinacea will also give your immune system that extra boost over the winter months.
5.Stay fit – Keeping active over winter can give your mood a boost by releasing endorphins, a feel-good hormone, as well as boosting your immunity. Just make sure you wrap up warm before you go for a run!
So there we have it! Overall our immune system is great and does a fantastic job of keeping us healthy of free from colds, flu and other nasty viruses. Lifestyle habits such as a rich and varied diet containing plenty of fruit and veg, and limiting alcohol intake will help keep our immune system in tip-top condition as we enter the colder winter months where our immunity may drop a little. Winter can be great if we embrace the cold weather, look forward to Christmas and rest easy knowing that our immune system is working hard to keep us fit and healthy!
And if you want to boost your immune system every single day in a really simple and delicious way then make sure you join my Green Smoothie Challenge ! It’s you’re complete guide to making green smoothie, juices and nut milks so that you can get that healthy glow in a matter of days – click below to find out more.