SHAPING UP: Seven natural ways to boost your immune system

The deadly coronavirus has forced the UK into an extended lockdown with more than 130,000 confirmed cases across the nation to date.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 12:00 am
Drink green tea.

Since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China at the end of December, more than 2.5 million cases have been confirmed globally with almost 200,000 deaths at the time of writing this article.

While there is currently no cure for the coronavirus, there are some sensible steps everyone can take to help support their natural defences against viruses, colds and flu.

The body’s immune system is what helps to fight of the pathogens which cause illness.

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Drink green tea.

There are a number of ways in which you can support your immune system to make it as strong and effective as possible, including the following…

Plenty of Exercise

Exercise is one of the most effective ways of boosting your immune system and preventing colds and viruses. When you work out there is an increase of white blood cells circulating around your body which can improve your body’s ability to fight infection.

Manage Stress

When you’re stressed there is an increase in the hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels over a long period of time can lead to a less effective immune system.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep can be a key contributor to colds and flu because there is a reduction of infection-fighting antibodies and cells when you’re tired.

So, if you’re feeling a little run down opt for an early night over a Netflix binge.

Drink More Water

Supermarkets are full of health-boosting drinks, but one of the most powerful drinks you can have is water.

Staying hydrated is really important for your immune system, because it helps your kidneys flush toxins out of the body.

Drink Less Alcohol

Drinking alcohol can damage the cells in the body that help the immune system. So, too much alcohol over time can increase the risk of bacterial and viral infections.

Vitamin D

A lack of vitamin D can lead to a weak immune system.

Foods like egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon and tuna contain vitamin D, so make sure you include these in your diet. If you don’t eat those foods you could also consider a vitamin D supplement. Choose a supplement that contains D3 (cholecalciferol), because it’s better at raising your blood levels of vitamin D.

Drink Green Tea

Green tea contains a high level of antioxidants, called flavonoids, which have many health benefits, including boosting your immune system.

Wash Your Hands Regularly

It may seem obvious, but keeping up good hygiene habits can really help when it comes to keeping healthy.

Washing your hands every time you visit the toilet, before and after preparing food and at other times during the day will really pay dividends.

10-MINUTE LADDER WORKOUT

There’re just four exercises in this workout but it will give you a full body workout. There’s no equipment needed so it’s ideal to do at home during the lockdown. Before you start the workout head over to the East Coast Fitness page and watch the demonstration video.10 seconds X-JUMPS

10 seconds PRESS UP SHOULDER TAPS

10 seconds SQUAT KCIKS

10 seconds SIT UP CROSSOVERS

20 seconds X-JUMPS

20 seconds PRESS UP SHOULDER TAPS

20 seconds SQUAT KCIKS

20 seconds SIT UP CROSSOVERS

30 seconds X-JUMPS

30 seconds PRESS UP SHOULDER TAPS

30 seconds SQUAT KCIKS

30 seconds SIT UP CROSSOVERS

40 seconds X-JUMPS

40 seconds PRESS UP SHOULDER TAPS

40 seconds SQUAT KCIKS

40 seconds SIT UP CROSSOVERS

50 seconds X-JUMPS

50 seconds PRESS UP SHOULDER TAPS

50 seconds SQUAT KCIKS

50 seconds SIT UP CROSSOVERS

Shakshuka With Feta

SERVES: 1

TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes

CALORIES 327 per portion

INGREDIENTS

2 eggs

30 grams of feta cheese

1⁄2 tablespoon of butter

1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced

1 white onion, diced

120 millilitres of tomato sauce

1 teaspoon of dried basil or a handful of fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon of dried oregano or a handful of fresh oregano leaves 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

A pinch of cayenne pepper

A pinch of pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Begin by melting the butter in a small frying pan over a medium heat and then add the sliced red pepper and finely diced onion. Cook gently for around 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have turned soft and golden, stirring often to prevent sticking.

While the vegetables are softening, measure out the spices and the tomato sauce. Once the vegetables are cooked add the sauce and all of the spices except the cayenne pepper. Lower the heat and gently simmer the sauce for around ten minutes.

The sauce should now be looking rich and delicious. At this point, crumble the feta cheese into the pan and make two small hollows in the surface of the sauce by using the back of a spoon. Crack the eggs into the hollows and sprinkle over the cayenne pepper.

Put a lid on the frying pan and let the eggs poach in the tomato sauce. This stage is important, so if you do not have a lid for your frying pan just use any lid that is larger than your pan. Check

the eggs often and remove from the heat once the white has set and the yolk has turned golden yellow. Remember, the eggs will continue to cook in the sauce even once the heat has been turned off so if you want a runny yolk take the pan off the heat slightly earlier. When the eggs are cooked to your liking use a large spoon to serve in a bowl.