Actimel have been working in association with psychologist Dr David Lewis and GP Dr Sarah Jarvis to help people maintain a healthy immune system, and have some key areas to focus on if you want to keep the bugs at bay this winter.
It may be a cliche, but you really are what you eat. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake to maximise immune-boosting potential and eat a rainbow of colours every day, as differently coloured veg and fruit contain different combinations of vitamins. A healthy breakfast is the best way to start your day, with fresh fruit, protein and complex carbohydrates. A bottle of Actimel each day can also help as it contains vitamins B6 and D that support the normal function of the immune system.
GP Dr Sarah Jarvis says:
"A healthy balanced diet will give us most of the vitamins we need - but many of us are short of vitamin D, which (like vitamin B12) is linked to immune health. If you can't get enough vitamin D from sunlight, consider a supplement."
Now this one is tricky for many of us, but research does suggest that getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night is necessary to maintain good health. We are also advised to avoid caffeinated drinks for at least three hours before bed, and to stay away from computer, tablet and phone screens before bed. Bit tricky for me as that's when I work! Oh dear. Sound advice though. I wonder if it counts if I do it just a couple of nights a week?!
Not Just an Old Wives Tale?
Despite being told otherwise for years, it seems that catching a cold may be down to not wrapping up warm after all. Well, sort of. Whilst colds are of course viral, it seems cold viruses may find it easier to bypass the body's natural defence mechanisms in your upper airway if you breathe them in with cold air. So wearing a scarf over your mouth and nose when it's cold outside could help prevent you from catching colds.
Gentle exercise such as yoga or jogging can help to boost your immune system, and will also help reduce stress levels and aid relaxation. Spending some time each day exercising, and some time relaxing, such as with a simple meditation, will have a positive effect on your immune system. If you can exercise with friends all the better, as people who have close relationships with friends and family have stronger immune systems than loners.
So, with winter on our doorstep, take on board these immune-boosting tips and face up to those cold viruses this season. Wishing you a healthy December!