Immunity - Colds and Flu Exposure to viruses is unavoidable, unless you live in a bubble, however whether your succumb to the virus depends on the strength of your immune system and Like any great building, your immune system needs solid foundations.Your Immune system needs good solid bricks, regular nourishment, via nutrients which comes from your food/diet. Your first line of defence is to choose a stress free happy and healthy lifestyle. There is still much that we don’t know about the complexities of the immune system and its response, but every single part your body, including your immune system, functions better when its protected from the environmental onslaught and is nurtured by the healthy-living strategies such as the ones below, following these simple steps will keep illness at bay and you healthy and happy all year round.
* Eat Your Vegetables, especially your greens! - Eating a varied balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, that is low in saturated fat, and particularly rich in veggies from the brassica family, which includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage, will help to build the immune systems defences.
* Exercise regularly - Regular exercise is one of the Allies of healthy living, it improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases . Your workouts don't have to be punishing to provide immune boosting benefits. Whatever you do, listen to your body, If you're a little under the weather already, take it easy until you feel better.
* Get adequate sleep - just a few days of sleep poor sleep/deprivation can be detrimental to your immune system. The average person should be getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, although some people need as few as 5 hours, while some need as many as 10 hours. Make sure you avoid caffeine and other stimulants before going to bed to ensure that way you will be well rested.
* Manage Stress - Hormones (like cortisol) that linger around during and chronic stress can put us at risk for obesity, heart disease, cancer, and a variety of other illnesses. Take time out of your day to do a relaxing activity you really enjoy, like writing/blogging, meditating, going for a run, working out or talking to a friend on the phone. Taking a bit of 'me time' is important you will come back refreshed, refocused and ready to kick your stressors to the curb!
* Drink in Moderation - Alcohol abuse can also cause/ lead to immunodeficiency, making you more susceptible to bacterial pneumonia, tuberculosis, and other antibiotic resistant communicable diseases. one drink daily for women, and two for men hasn't been associated with negative effects on the immune system. In fact the good news is there's evidence linking health benefits with moderate consumption, whilst heavy alcohol use can suppress the immune response, moderate alcohol consumption seems to have a beneficial impact on the immune system compared to alcohol abuse or being tea total. So for the time being, my advice remains, if you enjoy the odd glass follow The 80/20 rule, and everything in moderation.
* Don’t smoke - It lowers your immunity - Smoking and using tobacco products contributes to a whole host of health problems, and this is one more you can add to your list for reasons to quit!
* Lose Weight or Maintain a healthy body weight.
* Take steps to avoid infection, such as regular washing of your hands, flush used tissues away, also wash your fruits and veggies and cook meats thoroughly.
* GO for a SERVICE & MOT! - Getting regular medical/ physicals - Screening for people in your specific age group and risk category, will aid in early detection, treatment and subsequently the outcome. In the meantime, the general healthy-living strategies I've outlined above are a good preventative way to start giving your immune system the upper hand.
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