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10 Ways To Boost Your Immune System

4 MIN READ • 2nd October 2022

If your office is starting to look a little lacking in personnel, it’s time to start sowing the seeds for a strong immune system this autumn

There’s a lot of it going around. It’s the weather” is a sentence we often hear at this time of year, when barely a day goes by where someone hasn’t succumbed to the dreaded office bug. Although the flu may be a wimpy virus outside of the body, it’s easily transferred through surfaces and the air. Once it’s made it’s way inside the nose and throat, it multiplies to attack as many cells as possible.

Determined, yes, but before you panic at the thought of an army of nasty bugs waging war in your nose, your body’s prepared and kills as many as possible over the space of 12 hours. However, this is also the time when you’re most contagious without even knowing it. Instead of arming yourself with anti-bacterial gel and opening doors with your sleeve, you can up your defenses now, before a single symptom arises.

  • Break a sweat
    It may be chilly but don’t pack your trainers away just yet.
    Doctors have found that exercise can give the cells in your body that are assigned to attack bacteria a boost. As a result, your immune system is better equipped to handle bacteria that could cause sickness. Though this effect only lasts for a few hours after your workout, it’s often enough to help keep you healthier than you would be if you didn’t get the heart pumping. And you don’t need to be slogging away for hours – a half hour walk every day should do the trick.

  • Stock up
    Although it’s tempting to reach for the comfort food on dark days, a diet of antiinflammatory ingredients can significantly reduce your chances of autumn sniffles. The dense content of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants play a vital role in fending off bugs. Fill your fridge with elderberries, mushrooms, watermelon, grapefruit, cabbage, garlic, spinach, green tea, yoghurt, and honey which are all recognised for their bug-busting qualities.

  • Move your lymph
    If you’re thinking, “move my what?”, keep reading. The lymphatic system is directly related to your immune system and acts as your body’s clean-up system, circulating a fluid called lymph, picking up cellular waste and toxins. However, it relies on outside forces to move (such as muscles and gravity) and when it’s not functioning as it should, your immune system is compromised. The best way to keep the lymph ticking over is exercise (rebounding is particularly effective), dry body brushing, and massage.

  • Catch some z’s
    Hands up who feels like hibernating? Your instinct may be right as research has found that seven to nine hours sleep and the odd nap here and there is key to keeping fit and healthy over the autumn months. Severe sleep loss jolts the immune system into action, reflecting the same type of immediate response shown during exposure to stress. The result? Our T cells (white blood cells) go down, and inflammatory cytokines go up, leaving us vulnerable to bugs and virus’s. Early night anyone?

  • What’s supp?
    For many of us, it’s second nature to reach for the multi vits when we start to feel under the weather. But what does our body actually need?

    Vitamin C

    A daily dose of 1000mg or more has antiviral and immune enhancing effects

    Vitamin D

    Fend off colds and flus with 125-250mcg is enough for the average adult

    Omega 3

    Needed to help vitamin D work optimally, 4000mg daily not only prevents heart disease, but also significantly boosts the immune system

    Zinc

    Present in most over-thecounter flu remedies, 50mg of zinc daily is an effective preventative of infections

  • Detox your liver
    Ensuring your liver is working effectively leads to a strong immune system. As the organ that detoxes the body, the liver function must be able to clear away fats and cholesterol into the alimentary canal, otherwise the lymph system becomes impaired and the immune response declines. Still with us? Alkalise your water with lemon and include healthy fats like almonds, coconut, chia, and flax, along with pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

  • Keep warm
    Granny was right, buttoning up can keep colds at bay. Studies have shown that coldrelated stress to the body (such as shivering) depresses the immune system, making us more likely to catch bugs and viruses. We lose up to 30 percent of our body heat through our heads, so dig out that hat from the back of the cupboard and get cosy.

  • Be stress free
    It may not be possible to stay zen 24/seven, but prolonged stress can be detrimental to your health. How? The higher cortisol levels that spike during stress suppress lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) which are vital to our immunity as they kill invading organisms, recognise harmful substances and help defend against them. This can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions and lower levels of protein which are critical to signal other immune cells. Deep breaths everyone!

  • Drink up
    The benefits of staying hydrated are limitless, but when it comes to our health, drinking two litres of water a day can keep you fighting fit until spring. Not only does water flush out toxins and ensure that your cells get all of the oxygen they need, it also allows your kidneys to remove waste from your body and provides vital support to the lymph. Thirsty?

  • Add probiotics
    Here’s a crazy statistic – 70 percent of your immune system is in the gut. Supporting the tiny microbes in our gut (lactobacilli and bifidobacteria) reduces inflammation and keeps the digestive engine ticking over. Introduce fermented foods and probiotic supplements into your diet to keep the good bacteria topped up.

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