Our immune system guards against infection 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No wonder it can be overworked at times. So, rather than waiting for the first sign of a sniffle, here are some tips on how to keep your body’s natural defenses fighting fit throughout the day.
#1 Lemon Water
Drinking a pint of warm lemon water is a great way to start the day. As well as boosting hydration, it is a simple way to increase vitamin C intake and is thought to help digestion. Lemon water has a long tradition in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, as it is believed to cleanse and detoxify.
#2 Make Lunch Colourful
With meal deals and pack-ups often consisting of sandwiches and crisps, many people’s lunches are distinctly beige and lacking in nutrients. The different colour pigments in fruit and vegetables indicate their different health properties. As the immune system needs a variety of nutrients to stay healthy, eating a rainbow of different colours is important.
#3 Protein-Rich Snacks
Many people get an after-lunch lull, which means they reach for cakes and biscuits by 3pm. Instead, have protein-rich snacks on hand. Not only does protein help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing energy crashes, but it also provides the building blocks for many of the body’s immune cells. Diets too low in protein have been shown to have a negative impact on immunity.
#4 Eat Early
Avoiding meals too late at night is thought to have a number of benefits for digestion and quality of sleep. Emerging research is also indicating that having an overnight fast of 12-16 hours has other health benefits, such as cleansing damaged cells.
#5 Go To Bed Early
Prolonged periods of not getting enough sleep are likely to have a negative effect on immune function. Sticking to a regular bedtime and avoiding blue-light from electronic devices for at least an hour before bed helps to regulate circadian rhythms and production of sleep hormone melatonin.