Keep Your Immune System on Top Form This Winter

Although the festive season is the most exciting time of year for many of us, the winter months can also be tough on your health. As the days get darker and the weather colder, it gets more and more difficult to keep exercising and eating healthily – especially at office parties and holiday celebrations! In order to look and feel your best at this time of year, here are some handy tips to boost your immunity:


Keep on moving

It can be hard to keep up your fitness routine when it’s cold and dark outside but US researchers have found that keeping active can actually reduce your chances of catching a cold. Make sure to get your recommended 30 minutes of exercise every day to get your heart pumping and fight the winter blues. Find a gym buddy to go with you if you struggle to stay motivated or take up a fun new fitness class such as Hip Hop or Metcon.

Eat yourself healthy

Another bad habit that the cold can encourage is the temptation to fill up on stodgy comfort food but your immune system needs the right nutrients to help prevent against viruses. Add lots of green vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, to your main meals. Your vitamin D levels can also drop due to lack of sunlight, which has been directly linked to fighting off respiratory infections, so get your fix from including plenty of fatty fish, cereals and eggs into your diet. Getting your 5-a-day fruit and veg will also help to top up your intake of natural germ fighters vitamin C and Zinc – you shouldn’t need any other supplements if you’re eating well.

Get enough sleep

Sleep can help to enhance the immune system by balancing your hormone levels and allowing the body to repair itself – there’s a reason why you tend to feel stressed after a bad night’s sleep! In addition to stress, a lack of sleep is thought to increase inflammation in the body, which lowers immunity. Although researchers aren’t 100 per cent sure exactly how sleep boosts the immune system, it’s thought that sleeping between 7 and 9 hours is essential for good health. So take advantage of those longer, darker nights and try and fit in a good 8 hours. It is the season for hibernation after all…

Up your h20 intake

Water helps to flush out those nasty toxins, break up congestion and hydrate your body, which keeps your immune system happy. If you don’t fancy cold water, try some soothing hot water with a slice of lemon & honey or some anti-oxidant packed green tea. Although the cold weather can make you long for a hot latte from Starbucks or a glass of mulled wine, alcohol and caffeinated drinks can be dehydrating.

Get out of the house

Yes, it’s tempting to wrap up warm and Facebook your friends through the weekend rather than venturing out in the cold! But studies suggest that isolation can have a significant effect on your immune system; in fact, people who have strong interpersonal ties with others tend to have better immunity from colds and flu. It’s important to remember that immunity is influenced by a variety of factors including diet and stress, but it seems that having meaningful connections with friends and family can help you out in more ways than one.

Employ some common sense

Remember when your parents would nag you about washing your hands and putting on something warm before venturing outdoors? Their advice might sound straightforward now but it goes a long way to warding off winter colds. More parental advice, “laughter is the best medicine”, highlights the value of keeping things light, even at a time of year when work can be stressful. Chronic stress can compromise your immune system, and if it’s not managed effectively, can result in illness. Ways of managing stress include meditation, spending time with friends and family, exercising and counseling.

Get the winter flu jab

Another way to boost your immunity is to get the winter flu jab. Check with your doctor to find out if you’re eligible for the jab, which provides up to twelve months of cover against the major strains. Eligible patients include people who are 65 and over, and those who suffer from a serious heart complaint, kidney disease, diabetes and those with lowered immunity due to medication such as cancer treatment. Even if you aren’t eligible, many high street pharmacies also offer the service at an affordable price.

Aileen Hines

Aileen Hines is an expert on occupational training and a prolific writer who writes extensively on health, nutrition and medical insurance. She also manages and writes content for the eMeals website. She can be contacted for professional advice in matters related with occupation and training on Google+.

One thought on “Keep Your Immune System on Top Form This Winter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *