The most important role in our bodies is our immune system. White blood cells, antibodies, and other components, including organs and lymph nodes, make up our body’s immune system. These all need to be nourished in the correct way to allow them to function efficiently and effectively.
The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity. To function well, it requires balance and harmony.
We have outlined the best ways to aid in the balance and harmony of the immune system below.
1. Add These to Your Shopping List -
Your first step should be a visit to your local grocery store. Plan your meals to include these powerful Immunity Boosters :
Citrus fruits -
Vitamin C, the 'immunity booster' king. The first thing people turn to when they get a cold. This isn't just a myth, because it actually does helps build up your immune system.
Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.
Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal. Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health.
Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health.
Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic may also slow down hardening of the arteries, and there’s evidence that it helps lower blood pressure.
Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Try and buy yoghurts that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures can help stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.
Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavoured and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.
Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D which is key to building our immune systems and unfortunately something we all do not get enough of. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defences against diseases.
Vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C when it comes to your immune system. However, this powerful antioxidant is key to a healthy immune system.
A half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides you with all the vitamin E your body needs. Adults only need about 15 mg of vitamin E each day.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats.
Green Tea -
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant.
In studies, EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved.
Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T cells.
You may know turmeric as a key ingredient in many curries. This bright yellow, bitter spice has also been used for years as an anti-inflammatory in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive colour, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage. Curcumin has promise as an immune booster and an antiviral.
Natural Supplements -
Adding an all Natural supplement to your diet is a great way in helping your bodies immune system stay strong. Try a Natural and Organic Super Greens Powder. This will pack everything your immune system needs in a quick and easy to drink shot which is both all natural and easily absorbed by your body.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep.
Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.
Try these methods to improve your quality of sleep :
Get outside into natural sunlight during the day -
Research has shown that natural sunlight or bright light during the day helps keep your circadian rhythm healthy. This improves daytime energy, as well as night-time sleep quality and duration.
In people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure improved sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 83%!
Reduce screen time during the night -
Mobile Phones, TV and Computers are the worst culprits for this, emitting harsh blue light that tricks your body into thinking it is day time.
Try to limit screen time at night and totally remove any blue light exposure 2 hours prior to sleep. Try reading a book at night. Not only will this help with blue light exposure but it is a great way to wind down and relax.
Don't Consume Caffeine late in the day -
Caffeine is a great way to focus during the day, but it can have a detrimental effect on your sleep if taken too late. When consumed late in the day, caffeine stimulates your nervous system and may stop your body from naturally relaxing at night. Try to limit any caffeine intake after 5 pm.
Try Meditating and Relaxing -
Relaxation techniques before bed have been shown to improve sleep quality.
Strategies include listening to relaxing music, reading a book, taking a hot bath, meditating, deep breathing, and visualization. This all helps clear your mind so that you are not 'overthinking' and in turn getting a night of poor quality sleep.
3. Exercise Regularly -
Exercising poses many benefits including boosting your mood, helping weight control, relieving stress and keeping a healthy heart but did you know it plays a vital role in keeping your immune system strong?
Exercise has been shown to help your immune system by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.
After exercising make sure that you restore your bodies nutrients and minerals so that your immune system can thrive. Try and all Natural and Organic Super Greens Powder. This will give your body everything it needs in a quick and easy to take drink.
If the thought of exercise is outside your comfort zone, start small and take 2 short walks a day. Not only will this get you moving but it will get you into natural sunlight and fresh air which will help contribute to better sleep and in turn keep your immune system strong.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight -
Well known links exist between diet, exercise and immune function, as we have discussed above. But now it is known that obesity itself decreases immunity leading to increased risk of bacterial and viral infections. The good news is that several studies have shown an increase in immune responsiveness and improvements after weight-loss.
Try these methods to help maintain a healthy weight -
Avoid sugary drinks and fruit juice.
Drink water before meals.
Choose weight-loss-friendly foods.
Eat soluble fibre.
Drink coffee or tea.
Base your diet on whole foods and cut out processed foods.
Exercise a few times a week from a gentle walk to a run.
5. Reduce Stress -
The main types of immune cells are white blood cells. There are two types of white blood cells – lymphocytes and phagocytes.
When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.
The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system (e.g. lowers the number of lymphocytes).
Stress can also have an indirect effect on the immune system as a person may use unhealthy behavioural coping strategies to reduce their stress, such as drinking and smoking.
Stress is linked to headaches, infectious illness (e.g. flu), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma and gastric ulcers.
Try these methods to help deal with stress -
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress. The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise.
Reduce your caffeine intake -
Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, chocolate and energy drinks. High doses can increase anxiety. People have different thresholds for how much caffeine they can tolerate.
If you notice that caffeine makes you jittery or anxious, consider cutting back.
Although many studies show that coffee can be healthy in moderation, it’s not for everyone. In general, five or fewer cups per day is considered a moderate amount.
Mental stress activates your sympathetic nervous system, signalling your body to go into “fight-or-flight” mode.
During this reaction, stress hormones are released and you experience physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat, quicker breathing and constricted blood vessels.
Deep breathing exercises can help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.
There are several types of deep breathing exercises, including diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, belly breathing and paced respiration.
The goal of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper. When you breathe in deeply through your nose, your lungs fully expand and your belly rises.
Mindfulness and Yoga -
Mindfulness describes practices that anchor you to the present moment.
It can help combat the anxiety-inducing effects of negative thinking.
There are several methods for increasing mindfulness, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga and meditation.
A recent study with university students suggested that mindfulness may help increase self-esteem, which in turn lessens symptoms of anxiety and depression.
6. Follow Good Hygiene Practices -
This is both important with food and personal hygiene. This not only affects your immune system but also others around you.
Food Hygiene -
Cleaning & Sanitising
The first step in creating a food safety system is the fundamental aspect of cleaning and sanitising your cooking area before and after.
This is probably the most important in terms of eliminating cross-contamination. Hand washing and clean hands awareness are critical to food safety.
Make sure food is stored correctly according to food safety guidelines.
Food Handling carries the greatest risk when dealing with cross-contamination. Make sure you look at food safety guidelines when handling raw meat.
Personal Hygiene -
Washing the body often. If possible, everybody should have a shower or a bath every day. However, there may be times when this is not possible, for example, when people are out camping or there is a shortage of water.
Cleaning the teeth at least once a day. Brushing the teeth after each meal is the best way of making sure that gum disease and tooth decay are avoided. It is very important to clean teeth after breakfast and immediately before going to bed.
Washing hands with soap after going to the toilet.
washing hands with soap before preparing and/or eating food. During normal daily activities, such as working and playing, disease-causing germs may get onto the hands and under the nails. If the germs are not washed off before preparing food or eating, they may get onto the food.
Turning away from other people when coughing or sneezing. If this is not done, droplets of liquid containing germs from the nose and mouth will be spread in the air and other people can breathe them in, or the droplets can get onto food.
7. Cut your nails (it may sound like a strange one, but longer fingernails can become a breeding ground for germs)
This one is self-explanatory... Make sure your nails are either cut or thoroughly cleaned out each day. If you paid attention to how many times your hand touches your face you would be shocked.
8. Avoid Bad Habits Such as Smoking -
Smoking harms the immune system and can make the body less successful at fighting disease. The immune system is the body's way of protecting itself from infection and disease; it works to fight everything from cold and flu viruses to serious conditions such as cancer.
You can find great support online to help kick this bad habit. Try to replace it with a healthy habit such as exercising.
Call the free Smokefree National Helpline on 0300 123 1044
Call the free Smokeline on 0800 84 84 84
Call the free Help Me Quit helpline on 0800 085 2219
In Northern Ireland
Call a provider in the town or city where you live (telephone numbers can be found on the Want2Stop website)
9. Limit Your Alcohol Intake -
Drinking impairs immune cells in key organs.
By default, alcohol makes it harder for the immune system to gear up and defend the body against harmful germs. “Alcohol has diverse adverse effects throughout the body, including on all cells of the immune system, that lead to increased risk of serious infections.
Following the steps detailed above will ensure that you are giving your body the best chance to fight off sickness and infections. Having a healthy immune systems plays a vital role in not only keeping away the cold and flu but other more chronic illnesses.
A great way to ensure you are getting the nutrients your body needs to keep your immune defences strong is to take a natural super greens powder. Super greens are a quick and easy natural supplement to add to your day.
Make sure to get regular exercise, sleep well, cut out processed foods and most importantly kick those bad habits for a strong immune system this year.