At this time of year it can feel almost impossible to avoid catching some kind of cold or other illness. But there is actually a lot we can do to support our immune systems and help them to fight off viruses and bacterial infections that make us sick.
1. Eat a varied diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and whole grains
Research from around the world shows that fruits and vegetables are very good for the intestinal flora. Many good bacteria love the fibers in fruits and vegetables. The fibers in whole grains actually have an anti-inflammatory effect, much thanks to the effect on the intestinal flora. When the fibers are broken down by the intestinal flora, butyric acid, which counteracts inflammation, is formed. Also try to have many different colors on the plate. Antioxidants, which are so valuable for the immune system, are often found in colourful fruits and vegetables.
2. Move every day
Many studies that show that moderate exercise strengthens the immune system. For example, moderate exercise may increase the amount of IgA antibodies on the mucous membranes. The mucous membranes' immune system thus becomes stronger. But very intense training actually has the opposite effect. If you love to train hard, make sure to rest between sessions so that the immune system has time to recover.
3. Make sure you get enough sleep and recovery
Sometimes the best health tip can be to do nothing at all, just relax. Sleep is also incredibly important. Most people seem to need to sleep seven hours a night or more for the immune system to work at its best. It can also be a good idea to set aside time for recovery during the day. Rest, relax, try breathing exercises, yoga or just some fresh air.
4. Try to minimize stress
Too much stress is not good. Everyone knows that. But what do you do when hectic every day life comes in? Can the bacterial flora play a role? Actually the intestinal flora has a great impact on the nervous system, even early in life. Mice born in a sterile environment, whose mothers lack bacterial flora, have been shown to be more overactive than with mice born in a bacterially normal environment. Some good bacteria seem to be able to calm the nervous system and make us less sensitive to stress
Listening to music can lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol. It has even been proven to work in connection with something as stressful as an operation. Being out in nature also lowers stress levels. If you can not get out into the woods, your stress level can actually drop just by looking at nature through the window. Take a few deep breaths occasionally, sing and laugh. It calms the nervous system and can reduce stress, which is also good for the intestinal flora.
5. Build and maintain a strong intestinal flora
Did you know that 80% of your immune system is in your gut? Balance between good and bad bacteria in your stomach is important for how you feel. A healthy lifestyle with a healthy diet, regular exercise and low stress levels provide good conditions to avoid disturbing the balance in the intestinal flora.
Being out in nature, for example gardening, and being close to animals also gives better variation in the intestinal flora. To take a little extra care of your gut flora, you take a daily dietary supplement with probiotics to help balance the intestinal flora.