The immune system is made up of special types of cells that help fight infections. It does a remarkable job at defending the body against disease-causing bacteria and viruses. It also remembers infections it has come across before, which means it is trained to defend us by producing antibodies.
With the days getting colder and shorter it can feel like coughs and colds are a certainty, however there are some simple measures you can take to help keep your immune system working at its optimum. Your first line of defence is following these healthy lifestyle guidelines to help boost your immunity!
Exercise regularly: Exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It has been shown that regular exercise enhances the immune system. Exercise helps promote good circulation, which means the cells of the immune system move through the body freely and do their job more effectively. Another advantage of exercise is by helping to reduce stress levels. Exercise reduces the levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Chronic levels of these stress hormones have a negative effect on the immune system. Therefore, incorporating regular exercise and helping to reduce chronic stress are both key ingredients to optimising your immunity.
Keep up your intake of fruit and vegetables: Fruit and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals and there is some evidence that certain micronutrients (such as Vitamin C) can help reduce the severity and duration of cold symptoms. Try incorporating seasonal winter fruit and vegetables such as oranges, mandarins and kiwi fruit as they are all fantastic sources of vitamin C and other key nutrients that keep the winter nasties at bay.
Focus on your gut health: Emerging and exciting research is revealing that having a healthy gut microbiome is a great way to supercharge your immune system. The best way to keep your gut happy is to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria with the aid of probiotics and prebiotics, which can be found in many of the Jenny Craig Free Foods. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria found in certain foods and supplements that help to maintain the balance of good bacteria in the gut and include fermented or cultured foods such as yoghurt as well as sauerkraut and kimchi. Prebiotics are the non-digestible food ingredients mainly found in foods high in fibre and include foods like just-ripe bananas and non-starchy vegetables such as onion, leeks, garlic, beetroot, and snow peas.
Get adequate sleep: Adults need approximately 7-9 hours sleep every night and poor sleep can affect your mood, concentration and memory. If you have been having trouble sleeping there are some simple things that can help improve sleep habits, such as avoiding having caffeine too close to bedtime, avoiding screens 1 hour before bed, routinely going to bed and waking up around the same time each day, practicing relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation or having a warm drink like chamomile tea before bed.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation: Drinking alcohol can make weight loss more difficult due to the significant amount of kilojoules it contains. To achieve the best weight loss results Jenny Craig recommends avoiding all alcohol. If you do wish to include small amounts of alcohol, your consultant can discuss strategies to reduce your intake to no more than two servings per week. Excess alcohol can not only affect your overall health and weight loss goals, but it can lead to immune deficiency and increase your susceptibility to disease. Excessive alcohol can affect the immune system in two ways, first by depriving the body of valuable immune boosting nutrients and the second, by reducing the ability of immune cells to kill germs.
Winter doesn’t have to spell the end of achieving the goals you have set for yourself. Maintaining your healthy habits will help keep your immune system in balance and help boost your chances of beating colds and flu this winter.