1. Exercise outdoors
If you want to get your immune system off to a great start each day, exercise is vital. Exercise boosts your immunity by encouraging white blood cells (disease-fighting cells) to flow through the body quicker. This means your immune system is prepared to fight infection. Exercise helps to expel bacteria from our lungs and airways. Plus, the brief rise in body temperature could contribute to bacterial growth prevention.
Research has found that exercising early in the day means you are more likely to stick to this new routine. By evening you will have a million excuses not to do it but first thing in the morning, you won't be awake enough to realise what's happening.
Morning exercise also improves your overall health. When your overall health is functioning well your immune responses can be activated efficiently and your chances of fighting off invaders are better. When you exercise first thing in the morning, your metabolism is activated for the rest of the day, meaning you burn more calories and generally feel more vital and energised. Exercise helps to lower stress levels and maintain a healthy weight, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system.
|Tip – it takes at least two months to turn a new routine into a habit. Research on habit formation suggests that it can take anywhere between two and eight months before you perform a new routine automatically. So, if you are still struggling after a month, keep going. Forming long-lasting habits take time but are worth it.
There is a growing body of research on how meditation benefits us in a myriad of ways, one of which is the impact it has on our immune system. While there are still question marks about how exactly this works and to what extent, it is clear that meditation triggers our body's relaxation response, thereby reducing stress hormones and restoring our body's balance. Once our body is in balance, it will efficiently fight off any bugs that come its way.
Research shows that meditation has the power to rewire your brain and can improve your levels of happiness and positivity in the long term. It's worth making time for it. There is a saying that goes, "If you are too busy for 5 minutes of meditation... you should do one hour instead!" An hour truly can be hard to spare but 5 minutes is a fraction of the time you might spend scrolling on the internet before work. Just 5 minutes of meditation daily is enough to make a huge difference to your day, week, month and even life.
If you have never meditated before it can be useful to follow a guided meditation recording to get you started. There are plenty of free meditation apps that you can download to your phone. My favourite is insight timer but Youtube offers an array of free meditations too.
|Tip - research into habit formation noted that if you fail to perform your new routine a few times, it won't affect the long term success of your new habit. So, go easy on yourself if you miss a couple of morning meditations.
3. Balanced breakfast
You've probably already heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? At breakfast time you are breaking the fast you have been on since dinner the day before. It is the meal that sets your blood sugar levels for the first half of the day. Ideally, it should provide you with the energy to deal with whatever comes up between breakfast and lunch.
However, if your breakfast contains more sugar than protein, you might be missing out on these positive effects. If you feed your body with a sugary breakfast, your body will struggle to process the huge amounts of glucose that flooded it (glucose is the type of sugar our bodies take from our food). Studies show that high glucose levels are unhelpful when we need to fight infection, so an imbalanced breakfast is a no-no for boosting immunity. Make sure your breakfast cereal, granola or muesli contains no added sugar, and stick to naturally occurring sugar from fruit instead.
Fruit contains vitamins and minerals that are immune-boosting and health-giving. Try a dollop of yoghurt on top with some peanut butter and a sprinkling of hemp seeds. For more healthy breakfast inspiration, have a look at our breakfast recipe page.
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Research has shown that supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals can improve the immune response and potentially protect against illness. The most talked about supplements for immune health are zinc, vitamin D and C; but there are many more that have a part to play. That's why eating a varied diet will help your immune system thrive. Have a look at Dr. Jen Tan's blog on supporting your immune system for more recommendations.
If you want to make sure you are keeping on top of your health, I suggest taking our Balance Mineral Drink each morning. It contains zinc, magnesium and vitamin D amongst others. An easy and tasty morning routine to get started with.
What you said!
Recently we asked what you do in the morning to start your day. We've crunched the numbers and here are the results.
Results: How do you start your morning?
Our results show that the majority of people start off their day by eating breakfast. This is a great choice as breakfast provides us with the energy and nutrients needed for the day ahead!