6 ways to supercharge your immunity
Easy tips to follow to ensure your immune system is running smoothly during cold and flu season.
Lite n’ Easy dietitian, Larissa Robbins has shared 6 ways you can boost your health and strengthen your immune system.
As we head into cold and flu season, you may be wondering what you can do to keep healthy and reduce your chances of getting sick. While there is no one way to avoid contamination entirely, strengthening your immune system can go a long way to reducing your risk of contamination.
1. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water on a regular basis is important to keep hydrated and protect against infection. Water helps to flush out toxins and other bacteria that can cause illness. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses a day.
2. Up your fruit and vegetable intake
Our gut plays a major role in keeping our immune system healthy, and feeding your good gut bacteria or microbiome with nutritious foods will help keep your body prime to fight disease. Eating five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit daily, as well as plenty of whole-grains, legumes, nuts and seeds will ensure you get enough fibre to keep your gut happy.
Protein from lean animal and plant-based sources (like legumes and lentils) can boost immunity by regulating existing cells and generating new ones. It’s critical to build and repair body tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections.
4. Limit alcohol
Limit your alcohol consumption. Excessive drinking of alcohol can weaken the immune system and compromise liver function. Heavy drinkers are more susceptible to infections and dehydration.
5. Get enough sleep
Without enough sleep, our bodies don’t have a chance to rest and it means we make less cytokines, which is a protein that targets infection and inflammation. Get enough shut eye with the recommended 7 – 8 hours sleep a night to protect yourself against health issues. If you have trouble during the work week getting enough sleep, opt for a nap on the weekends (no longer than 30 minutes) to decrease stress and offset sleep deprivation.
6. Wash your hands
Prevention is the key, so washing your hands regularly with soap and water before eating, or using hand sanitiser when this is not possible will reduce your risk and help stop the spread of infection. And when it comes to cold and flu and the emerging Covid-19 virus, remember that sharing is not caring. Stay home, get lots of rest and follow the advice from health professionals.
If you don’t feel like preparing food or your supermarket supplies are running low, Lite n’ Easy has a range of healthy soups, dinners and other meals that you can keep in the freezer as a convenient option if you are feeling unwell and are avoiding heading to the shops.
Larissa Robbins is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with extensive experience working across Australia and the UK in the food industry, corporate health, hospitals and private practice. She specialises in the area of weight management, gastrointestinal disorders and chronic disease management. Larissa is passionate about helping people live their healthiest lives through the power of food and nutrition.