As the weather cools, there is no better time to start thinking about how to strengthen your immune system.

Changes of season make us more susceptible to nasty bugs and bacteria.

And if your immune system is weak or compromised, you could be in for a very long winter.

So be proactive now and boost your immune system so it is in peak condition when the dreaded lurgies come knocking.

Here is how to do it.

Maintain a healthy diet

Eating a balanced, nutritious diet is essential to keep your immune system strong.

It should be rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.

These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and nutrients that support a well-functioning immune system.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of water throughout the day to ensure you remain hydrated.

Hydration is important for proper immune function and helps flush toxins from the body.

Males need around 2.6 litres of water daily, females around 2.1 litres.

Do not wait until you become thirsty. By that time, you have already become dehydrated.

Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is when your body heals itself and your immune system restores its batteries.

Aim for somewhere between seven and nine hours per night.

Studies have shown that people who do not get enough sleep are more likely to fall sick after being exposed to a virus, including common colds and flus.

Lack of sleep will also delay your recovery time from these illnesses.

Manage stress levels

Chronic stress is another major dagger to your immune system, leading to a greater likelihood of falling sick.

To manage your stress levels, practice stress management techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga or tai chi.

Regular exercise

Regular exercise is another great way to reduce your stress levels and enhance your immune system.

Jogging, cycling, swimming and strength training are all excellent activities.

But you do not need to over exert yourself. 

Even walking is extremely beneficial, helping to improve circulation, reduce inflammation and boost immune function.

About 45 minutes of moderate activity daily is recommended.

Maintain a healthy weight

Eating well and engaging in regular exercise will also help you maintain a healthy weight which in turn promotes a well-functioning immune system.

Being overweight or obese weakens your immune system and leaves you susceptible to short term as well as chronic diseases.

Limit alcohol and tobacco use

Reducing your alcohol intake and quit smoking all together to improve your immune system.

Smoking and excessive drinking leads to the suppression of immune system function, increasing susceptibility to infections. 

Practice good hygiene

There remains some debate and conjecture as to whether there is a direct relationship between good hygiene and a better functioning immune system.

What is not up for debate is the value in regularly washing your hands of germs with soap and water.

This reduces your chances of exposure to nasty bacteria and viruses.

It should especially be done after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing and before eating or touching your face.

Regularly cleaning and disinfecting bathroom areas and other frequently touched surfaces is also worthwhile.

Consider supplements

Consider taking supplements that support your immune system.

These include vitamins C and D, zinc and probiotics.

Take them especially when feeling tired or stressed, coming into contact with others who are unwell and at the first sign of sickness.

Other supplements such as garlic, selenium, elderberry, curcumin, echinacea and B complex vitamins have also been shown to be beneficial.

It is however wise to consult with your doctor before any regular course of supplements.

Stay socially connected

Maintain social connections with friends, family and acquaintances.

Social connections boost your sense of happiness and wellbeing.

This in turn has a positive effect on your immune function and overall health.

Book an appointment

Making small efforts to boost your immune system at any time of the year makes great sense but especially with winter approaching.

These suggestions are all simple ways to improve your overall health and wellbeing and can be done with a minimum of effort.

After all, no-one likes being sick.

But if you do fall ill, book an appointment with one of the caring GPs at AHA Clinics.

Doctors at AHA always listen closely to your concerns and will have you back on your feet in no time.

They are caring, kind, empathetic and highly-skilled in treating a wide variety of conditions.

They can also talk to you about what efforts you can make to promote your immune system and increase your chances of negotiating the winter months without falling ill.

Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.