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10 easy ways to improve your winter immune response

10 easy ways to improve your winter immune response

Winter immunity basics

The best way to stay healthy this winter is to strengthen your immune system.  But what exactly is an immune system, and what do you need to do to strengthen it?

Your “immune system” is collection of organs, cells and processes that protects you against harmful bacteria, viruses and other organisms by:

  • Providing a physical barrier that keeps invading organisms from entering your body
  • Identifying the bacteria and viruses that do make it through those barriers
  • Neutralising these harmful organisms once they’re identified

 

10 top lifestyle tips to maintain healthy immune response

  1. Start with a balanced diet: your immune system requires a wide range of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants to function optimally.  Aim to get most of these from fresh, whole foods: fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and lean protein sources.
  2. Hydrate regularly:  water is a major component of every cell in your body, including your immune cells.  Stay hydrated by sipping water regularly throughout the day, or try green or herbal teas.  Avoid sugary, caffeine-laced soft drinks, which may lower your immune response.
  3.  Take Aged Garlic Extract: raw garlic contains high-strength, immune boosting compounds that have been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties.  If you’d prefer to avoid the taste of raw garlic (let alone the garlic breath), take odourless Aged Garlic Extract instead.
  4. Use probiotic supplements: your intestinal tract is responsible for around 70% of your immunity. A big part of intestinal health is healthy gut flora (probiotic bacteria) levels.  Different probiotic strains affect your body in different ways, so look for a supplement that’s been shown to support immune response effectively.
  5. Get more early nights: lack of sleep lowers your immunity, so aim to get enough sleep for you (however much that may be) each night.  Aim to wake up feeling invigorated, rather than drained and fatigued.
  6.  Relax and unwind: when you’re stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol – hormones that depress your immune system.  Meditation, hypnosis and relaxing with calming music can all help to reduce the levels of these hormones and boost immune response.
  7.  Try to see the funny side: a good belly laugh actually supports your immunity by raising white blood cell levels1.
  8. Work out (or just walk): while exercising too hard or for too long can suppress immunity, gentle-to-moderate activity can boost your immune response.  Ensure you take time out to recover between sessions to avoid overtraining though.
  9. Lower your alcohol intake: an occasional drop of wine won’t hurt (and may even support your cardiovascular health), but overindulging in alcohol can suppress your immune response for up to 24 hours2.
  10. Stop smoking: many of the chemicals in cigarette smoke have been shown to impair immunity3.  If you smoke, quitting is the probably best gift you can give your immune system.

1http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter 2http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/alcohol-effects-body-infographic_n_2333328.html
3Mehta et al. 2008. Cigarette smoking and innate immunity. Inflamm. res. 57 (2008) 497–503

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10 easy ways to improve your winter immune response

Stay healthy all year round with a strengthened immune system. Learn what exactly your immune system is & 10 lifestyle tips on how to strengthen it.

Winter immunity basics

The best way to stay healthy this winter is to strengthen your immune system.  But what exactly is an immune system, and what do you need to do to strengthen it?

Your “immune system” is collection of organs, cells and processes that protects you against harmful bacteria, viruses and other organisms by:

  • Providing a physical barrier that keeps invading organisms from entering your body
  • Identifying the bacteria and viruses that do make it through those barriers
  • Neutralising these harmful organisms once they’re identified

 

10 top lifestyle tips to maintain healthy immune response

  1. Start with a balanced diet: your immune system requires a wide range of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and antioxidants to function optimally.  Aim to get most of these from fresh, whole foods: fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, and lean protein sources.
  2. Hydrate regularly:  water is a major component of every cell in your body, including your immune cells.  Stay hydrated by sipping water regularly throughout the day, or try green or herbal teas.  Avoid sugary, caffeine-laced soft drinks, which may lower your immune response.
  3.  Take Aged Garlic Extract: raw garlic contains high-strength, immune boosting compounds that have been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties.  If you’d prefer to avoid the taste of raw garlic (let alone the garlic breath), take odourless Aged Garlic Extract instead.
  4. Use probiotic supplements: your intestinal tract is responsible for around 70% of your immunity. A big part of intestinal health is healthy gut flora (probiotic bacteria) levels.  Different probiotic strains affect your body in different ways, so look for a supplement that’s been shown to support immune response effectively.
  5. Get more early nights: lack of sleep lowers your immunity, so aim to get enough sleep for you (however much that may be) each night.  Aim to wake up feeling invigorated, rather than drained and fatigued.
  6.  Relax and unwind: when you’re stressed, your body releases adrenaline and cortisol – hormones that depress your immune system.  Meditation, hypnosis and relaxing with calming music can all help to reduce the levels of these hormones and boost immune response.
  7.  Try to see the funny side: a good belly laugh actually supports your immunity by raising white blood cell levels1.
  8. Work out (or just walk): while exercising too hard or for too long can suppress immunity, gentle-to-moderate activity can boost your immune response.  Ensure you take time out to recover between sessions to avoid overtraining though.
  9. Lower your alcohol intake: an occasional drop of wine won’t hurt (and may even support your cardiovascular health), but overindulging in alcohol can suppress your immune response for up to 24 hours2.
  10. Stop smoking: many of the chemicals in cigarette smoke have been shown to impair immunity3.  If you smoke, quitting is the probably best gift you can give your immune system.

1http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter 2http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/alcohol-effects-body-infographic_n_2333328.html
3Mehta et al. 2008. Cigarette smoking and innate immunity. Inflamm. res. 57 (2008) 497–503
10 easy ways to improve your winter immune response
 

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