Our immune systems need all the help they can get to help protect us from colds, flu and other bugs. You can help strengthen your immune systems by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating plenty of fruits and veggies and more.

Here are 7 ways to support your immune system:

1.Be aware of germs

While colds and flu are common, you can help avoid spreading germs and minimise the risk of falling ill by:

  • Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water after you cough or sneeze and before preparing food
  • Using anti-bacterial hand gel if you don’t have access to soap and water
  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Throwing tissues in the bin after you use them

2. Move your body

Exercise is key to good health. Not only will it keep you physically healthy, boosting your immunity and helping keep off excess weight, but it can help your mental health as well.

Try to get into a routine of getting out and doing some exercise, whether it is walking up the stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator or going for a daily walk. Make time to visit the gym or try a quick at-home workout. Already feeling unwell and unsure about exercising? Discover our guide to exercising with a cold.

3. Stay hydrated

It’s easy to forget about hydration when you’re busy. However, staying hydrated is essential in making sure your body functions well: it will keep your skin healthy and flush out toxins.

4. Eat nutritious foods

Eating a diet packed with fruits, vegetables, fibre and protein is key to staying healthy. Fibre will help boost your immune system function, decrease inflammation and aid heart-health; protein will keep your energy levels stable throughout the day, fight off cravings and keep you healthy; vegetables and fruits provide the essential vitamins and antioxidants your body needs. Try to include as many fruits and vegetables in your diet as possible.

5. Supplement with vitamins

Vitamin C will help give your body’s immune system a boost. While it’s found in foods such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, peppers and leafy greens, it may be helpful to supplement your diet as well.

It’s also important to take vitamin D. During the winter months when the days are short and dark, we don’t get as much of the vitamin we need.

6. Prioritise sleep

Sleep is so important for helping us recover if we get sick. Studies show a lack of sleep make us more susceptible to catching colds and viruses, so make sure you get adequate rest.

7. Relax when possible

While a healthy diet, exercise and sleep can all help your mental health, dedicating time to relaxing is also important.

Meditation or yoga can be helpful in keeping you calm, focused and present while activities such as visiting a sauna or steam room can also help. Saunas help relax tense muscles, detoxify your body and your skin and alleviate stress.