As we move into winter with the pandemic still looming, we should understandably be more aware of our health and, in particular, our immune system.
It is of particular concern as a result of the need to social distance from people as this can mean that our immune system is more delicate than it would otherwise be.
Your immune system is the main line of defence against infections, allergies and diseases you may come in to contact with. This is why it’s important to support our immune systems as they keep us healthy. The immune system is made up of a complex waving of cells and organs, so complex in fact that scientists are still making new research discoveries.
How can we support it?
Studies have shown that exercise can contribute to a healthy production level of naïve T cells which steadily declines as we grow older. These naïve T cells are the alarm system for your body when you come in to contact with unwanted infections, allergies or diseases. They let the rest of your immune system know it needs to kick in to action. The study was conducted by a research team at the University of Birmingham and found that those aged 55-79 who were cycling frequently produced the same levels of naïve T cells as young adults. Other more general studies have found that exercise can help reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections, which is often a symptom of the common cold.
A healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies making sure you get plenty of fibre and water. Having a varied diet helps to maintain your beneficial bacteria which also helps to support the immune system. There are some good superfoods that you should include in your diet. Oranges contain high amounts of vitamin C which contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system. Broccoli are also great to support your immune system because it’s especially high in fibre as well as also containing high levels of vitamin C.
Vitamins & Minerals
Lots of different vitamins & minerals can support the immune system and as we’ve talked before on our blog, supplements can help us achieve the recommended dose per day which is particularly hard to get in the winter months. Vitamin D and Zinc have had quite a lot of research into their support:
Vitamin D is often touted as a great support for the immune system. The sunshine vitamin contributes to the regulation of the immune system making sure that it is functioning the way it should. Vitamin D also known to act as an anti-inflammatory and Vitamin D3 particularly helps aid calcium absorption in the body.
Zinc has not only been shown to help reduce the impact of common colds, but studies have also started exploring its potential to stabilise the immune system response to infections. The study suggests that this calming effect of Zinc could be what’s helping stem the severity of common colds when supplements are taken at the beginning of one.
We hope everyone is staying safe :)