Powering your immune system

Because of the fact that as a shift worker you sometimes work irregular hours it can make you a little more susceptible to illness if you are not leading a healthy lifestyle. This means that sleep, stress management, nutrition and exercise are all important when it comes to having a strong immune system. 

Here’s 10 Top Tips :

1. Good Gut health supports your immune system

  • 80% of the immune system is now thought to be in the gut.
  • Healthy gut bacteria, are important for fighting illness and for a quick recovery.

2. Feed Your Gut Well

  • As much as possible, avoid ultra-processed foods high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and additives, as these weaken gut health.
  • Eat high-fibre whole foods like oats, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and beans. This is the very best way to look after your healthy gut bacteria.

3. Aim for Diversity in Plant Foods

  • Work towards including 20+  plant foods per week for optimal gut health.
  • This can be done through a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, lentils, beans, olives, herbs & spices.
  • Use frozen vegetables and berries for convenience and variety.

4. Practical Tips

  • Add one new fruit, vegetable, or nut each week.
  • Aim for a minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day plus, nuts, seeds and oats.
  • Opt for brown, chewy bread instead of white sliced bread.

5. Fermented Foods are gut friendly

  • Include live unsweetened yogurt, kefir, kombucha, mature cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sauerkraut, pickles and other fermented foods to enhance gut health.

6. Manage Stress

  • Make a habit of including gratitude, mindfulness, and spending time in nature as part of your daily life. This helps regulate stress and can make it easier to deal with stressful situations when they arise.

7. Avoid Smoking and Binge Drinking

  • Both are damaging to the immune system.

8. Prioritise Sleep

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep. This is when we heal and rejuvenate.

9. Get Vitamin D

  • Spend time outdoors in daylight or consider supplements during the winter months. Include foods like oily fish, eggs, and mushrooms for dietary sources.

10. Exercise Regularly

  • Both exercise and movement boost our immune systems. Moving throughout the day benefits us in lots of ways even if it’s just for a few minutes regularly. Also try to get a 30 minute walk in which benefits mental health as well as overall heath.