When it comes to fighting off an illness, a strong and healthy immune system can play a big role.
For people living with diabetes, ensuring your immune system is fighting fit can be particularly important when it comes to managing the condition, especially when you get sick.
In the event of global pandemics like the COVID-19 outbreak, having a healthy system – as well as adopting the social distancing measures in place, which includes good hygiene – may help you ward off the virus.
There are many ways you can boost your immunity, even when where there are restrictive measures in place.
Diabetes WA encourages people to undertake the following steps to help boost their immune system:
- Keep fit: Perform regular, moderate intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. This can act as a defence for the immune system to fight illness, decrease body inflammation and improve the body’s metabolic health. Exercising can also reduce stress and help you manage your weight.
- Keep your blood glucose levels in check: High blood glucose levels (BGLs) can impact the immune system’s ability to fight off illness.
- Eat healthy: Stick to eating foods with a low-glycemic index which are high in fibre as it will help keep BGLs stable. Probiotics (found in yoghurt) can help improve gut health, while omega 3 fatty acids (found in oily fish and flaxseed) as well as fruit and vegetables high in vitamin C can also help boost immunity.
- Stay hydrated: Making sure you drink plenty of water is one way to help your immune system as it helps your body function.
- Avoid alcohol: You may think that stocking up on bottles of wine will help get you through periods of isolation, but alcohol can stop the immune cells from doing their work, therefore impairing your defence system.
- Stop smoking: Smoking can increase your risk of developing infections like influenza or pneumonia.
- Flu vaccination: Getting the flu jab may help you from developing other flu viruses that can impact your immune system.
- Soak up some sun: Getting out and about in the sunshine (keeping in mind social distancing) can improve your vitamin D levels which can help strengthen your immunity.
- Take supplements or vitamins: Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before starting any supplements or vitamins to make sure it doesn’t interact with current medication.
If you are living with diabetes and have any questions or concerns, you can speak to a diabetes educator via the Diabetes WA Helpline on 1300 001 880, or get in touch via email at [email protected]. You can also book in for a free one-on-one telehealth consultation by calling the number above.