Stronger from within

Stay healthy during flu season with these immunity-boosting tips.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Stay healthy during flu season with these immunity-boosting tips.

Keep your mitts clean

Though it seems basic, washing your hands properly is actually as effective as giving yourself a mini-vaccine. It’s one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. If that isn’t enough to convince you, consider this: Participants in a study published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found bacteria of faecal origin in 44 per cent of samples where they didn’t wash their hands. Gross.

Chill out

Chronic stress suppresses your immune system, making you more susceptible to colds and flus. Find a healthy outlet to release tension. It could be hanging out with friends, doing a sport you enjoy, or learning something new.

Hit the sack

You knew this was coming. According to a study published in the Pflugers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology, sleep – or a lack of it – influences and affects your immune system in a big way. Sleep deprivation compromises your body’s immune function, and causes stress and inflammation levels to spike. Aim for at least seven hours of shuteye each night.

Make more friends

When it comes to your well-being, it pays to be a social butterfly. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that a lack of social support ups one’s risk of depression, and feelings of loneliness weaken immunity. Think about it: Having no one to turn to if you’ve had a bad day just fuels psychological and emotional stress. In the long run, that’s a sure recipe for poor health.

Eat well

Diet definitely plays a big role in determining how well your body functions. Beyond filling your plate with superfoods rich in antioxidants (think colourful fresh fruits and vegetables), it’s also a good idea to load up on probiotics. These “good bacteria” help to keep your gut strong and healthy to fend off infections.

Get moving

Every bit of exercise counts. Make it a point to move more, even if you’re just taking a walk (or out catching Pokemon). Keeping active staves off a list of conditions and illnesses, and is thought to boost the circulation of antibodies to fight off germs and diseases.

Lighten up

Go ahead and LOL (laugh out loud) – it’s good for you! Laughing helps to ease stress and relieve tension, and also boosts a type of white blood cell in your body that combats infections.