As the global pandemic marches on, being mindful of our health and wellbeing is essential. As we start to move around a little more, possibly return to the workplace or even go on holiday it is important we remember that we need to look after ourselves.
Our immune system is complex. How we respond to infection and disease in general is determined by multiple individualised factors. However there are everyday things we can do to help support and strengthen our immune system - and at least 2 of them are free!
- Exercise - Keeping active and exercising regularly improves our circulation. This also helps with production of antibodies - the bug fighting army that we need to fight infection and illness. Release of feel good endorphins from exercise also helps with feelings of stress and anxiety. This is important for our brain health and our immune system and stress has a negative impact on how we cope with infection. If we can exercise outside thats even better as nature has its own immune improving abilities.
- Load your plate with fruit and veg - Vitamin C, Zinc and Iron are just some of the nutrients that help our immune system fight and recover from infection. Leafy greens, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables are everyday ways to help us mainaitan our levels of these essential vitamins and minerals
- Vitamin D-many of us are vitamin D deficient, the NHS and WHO have supported taking a maintenance dose of vitamin D for sometime now so if you don’t already, get started on 10mcg vitamin D daily. And get outside in the sunshine when you can ( and if there is any!)
- Sleep - poor sleep affects our immune system and impacts our ability to deal with and recover from infection. Whilst sleep routines have been set haywire during lockdown and the level uncertainty remains high it is understandable that getting a good nights sleep may still be challenging. If you are sleeping poorly and feeling tired read here for some tips https://www.nogginbrain.co.uk/one-thing-you-can-do-tonight-and-every-night-to-help-support-your-immune-system/ and keep trying. Every night brings a new opportunity to sleep better and like all habits, once you get into a routine of sleeping well it is easier to maintain this
- Omega 3 - found in fatty fish such as salmon, these healthy fats are important for brain health as well as your immune system. Omega 3 fats are directly involved in production of some of the white blood cells (lymphocytes) that mount your defence against infection.
Dr Clara Russell