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​Boosting Your Immune System

​Boosting Your Immune System

by Sinead Belton | 9th Feb 2023

Our immune system is a vital part of our body. Whenever we are sick or get an infection our immune system is one of our best lines of defence to fight off any illness or infections. It is so important that we maintain a healthy immune system, so that we are fighting fit for when illness may strike.

By making a few dietary and lifestyle changes we can boost our bodies natural defence system. Take a look at the tips below and try to incorporate a couple of them to your daily routine.

Get enough sleep

We’ve all heard this one before but sleep can often be underestimated. Sleep is vital for allowing our bodies to fight off illnesses and infections. Most of us need between 5-9 hours of sleep each night, with 7 hours being the recommended amount for adults. 

Struggling to sleep? If you find that you struggle to get to sleep, why not start by putting away all of your devices at least 1 hour before you go to bed as this helps to promote better sleep.

Get your daily dose of exercise

There are a whole range of benefits associated with daily exercise. It helps to control body weight, helps to improve cardiovascular health, lowers our blood pressure and boosts our immune system. When we exercise regularly our blood circulation improves. This allows our blood cells, which carry white blood cells that fight infection and disease, to move around our body more freely. 

Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise each day. This can include going for a walk, jog, run, doing a Pilates, yoga or dance class. If you can (weather permitting) try to get outside when you are exercising for some fresh air! if you have recently started to include daily exercise into your routine, be mindful to start off slow. Overtime your body will adapt to the exercise you are doing and gradually you will be able to increase the level of physical activity. 

Eat a balanced diet

Food fuels our bodies and provides us with the nutrients that we require for our body functions to run smoothly. A balanced meal should consist of a protein source, carbohydrates, healthy fats and some fruit/veg. Try to have three well-balanced main meals each day. If you find that you are feeling peckish in-between meals opt for high fibre/high protein snacks. 

When choosing which foods to eat, try to opt for whole foods where possible. Whole foods are rich in nutrients and antioxidants which will help to fight off infection and illness. These include foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and eggs.

Fibre rich foods are great for our gut microbiome. The more fibre we can include in our diet the more we are boosting our immune system. A strong and robust gut microbiome means that when pathogens enter our body via the digestive tract our bodies can defend against them. 

If you are finding it difficult to up your fibre intake, why not check out some of our high fibre meals!

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin as it is produced and synthesised in our skin when we are exposed to direct sunlight. In Ireland, it is recommended to supplement vitamin D from October to March, due to the lack of exposure to direct sunlight. We can also get vitamin D from certain foods but it is difficult to get it from food alone. Some foods that contain high levels of vitamin D include;

  • Oily fish 
  • Egg yolks
  • Liver
  • Fortified cereals 

If you find it hard to include foods that contain vitamin D into your diet, why not check out some of our meals that are high in/source of vitamin D.

Managing our stress levels

Stress hormones that increase during periods of high stress can have an impact on our immune system and weaken our defences. Incorporating meditation or relaxation techniques into your weekly routine can help you manage stress levels and thus maintain a healthy immune system. 

Taking 10-15 minutes out of your day to focus on relaxation can have a positive effect not only on your immune system but also you mood, your physical and mental health. If meditation does not work for you, you may find that exercise, journaling, yoga or reading a book does, so give it a go!


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