Wellingborough author shares how lifestyle could improve our immune system to help in the fight against Covid

"We need a good night’s sleep, moderate exercise, and to have a relaxed life (avoid stress)"
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A Wellingborough author has shared his thoughts on how our lifestyle could improve our immune system to help in the fight against Covid.

This is the final of three articles by Ian Andrews MSc on how to keep your immune system healthy as the pandemic continues.

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Ian spent several years doing research for Imperial College, Shell, Beechams and Surrey University before becoming a college lecturer.

Ian Andrews with his book 'Nutrition for the Over Fifties'Ian Andrews with his book 'Nutrition for the Over Fifties'
Ian Andrews with his book 'Nutrition for the Over Fifties'

His first book was about the traditional foods of his home county Northamptonshire, which went on to become his publisher’s best seller.

And 20 years later, he published his second book, Nutrition for the Over Fifties.

Here's what Ian has to say on our lifestyle and how it could play a crucial part in protecting us from coronavirus.

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Ian told the Northants Telegraph: "We are protected against infection by our immune system.

"It is up to us to keep our immune system healthy, even more so in these days of escalating Covid-19.

"The last two pieces have dealt with some of the nutrients our immune system uses.

"This week we will consider how our lifestyle can affect our immune system.

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"We need a good night’s sleep, moderate exercise, and to have a relaxed life (avoid stress).

"Most of us need seven to nine hours sleep each night.

"The quality of our sleep has a great effect on our mental and physical health.

"It is certainly one of the things that helps our immune system remain healthy.

"It is no surprise that exercise helps keep us healthy too.

"It’s another of those things that helps the immune system.

"But it may come as a surprise that too much exercise has the opposite effect.

"It can actually weaken the immune system.

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"What is needed is a reasonable amount of moderate exercise.

"Try to build it into your everyday life.

"Choose an enjoyable exercise, because it also stimulates the mind, and in the long run that helps the immune system too.

"The final thing we all need to do is have a calm life, avoiding anxiety.

"Stress is bad for the immune system, whether it be mental worries or over exercising.

"If possible, set aside some time to relax.

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"Unfortunately, there are some things that need to be avoided because they reduce the efficiency of the immune system.

"Excessive amounts of caffeine can make the immune system less efficient.

"Fortunately, moderate amounts of caffeine have little effect on it.

"If you feel you cannot get started in the morning without a strong cup of coffee, that’s not a problem, have it.

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"But it is wise to switch to decaffeinated drinks throughout the rest of the day.

"There are some extra strong energy drinks available, just as there are some very strong coffees.

"These have a lot of caffeine in them, and really are best avoided.

"Alcohol also has a weakening effect on the immune system.

"Small amounts of alcohol are harmless.

"A small glass of wine or half a pint of beer just once a day is not going to have a great effect on the immune system.

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"Drinking more significant amounts of alcohol can have definite, harmful effects.

"Regularly drinking to excess is definitely to be avoided.

"It has already been said that stress is bad for the immune system.

"If you are prone to stress find something that calms you.

"Yoga and meditation are obvious things to suggest, but a walk in the countryside is calming, mentally stimulating, and provides some gentle exercise too.

"We are all different, choose what suits you.

"My preference is to do something with other people, but this might be difficult in these coronavirus days.

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"Unfortunately, the coronavirus has caused extra problems for us all.

"Worrying about job loss, paying the bills, or the family health is of concern to many of us.

"Try to avoid pointless worrying.

"Try to think positively about what can be done to help your situation, and set about doing it.

"Finally, nicotine should be avoided completely, whether it is tobacco or vapes.

"There is no level at which smoking is safe.

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"If you really can’t stop, try cutting down as much as possible.

"Consider Covid-19 to be the spur to help you quit.

"Smoking is a very harmful thing to do.

"In addition to weakening the immune system, it also irritates the respiratory system and makes you more susceptible to respiratory infections.

"This is the last of my three articles which were designed to help keep your immune system functioning well.

"Put these ideas into practice; you owe it to yourself to stay healthy."

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To read Ian's first piece on how our diet could help in the fight against Covid, click here.

To read Ian's second piece on how vitamins in our diet could help in the fight against Covid, click here.

For more information about Ian and his books, click here.