Your immune system isn’t a single thing, it’s made up of lots of individual components, which all work together to protect you from infection. A network of cells, organs, proteins and antibodies work together to protect you against bacteria and viruses.
A healthy lifestyle has numerous benefits on your well-being and following the latest health guidelines is a simple step towards keeping your immune system strong and healthy.
The immune system isn’t very well understood and although there is a lot of advice and many theories on how to help it, there is a lack of strong and compelling evidence that single actions or foods will have a significant effect. That said, keeping yourself as fit and healthy in body and in mind has clear benefits.
Tips for a healthy lifestyle:
- Don’t smoke
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables
- Take regular exercise
- Actively work on cutting stress
- Manage your weight
- Get a good nights sleep
- Wash your hands frequently using soap for at least 20 seconds
Healthy Diet – Fantastic Seven Foods
Broccoli Broccoli truly is the king of superfoods, bursting with nutrients like vitamins A, C and E, It’s high in antioxidants and fiber too.
Chillies and Peppers These are a powerful antioxidant and contain vitamin A and C (which can boost the immune system). Red peppers typically have twice the amount of vitamin C than oranges.
Cinnamon – can reduce bacteria’s ability to multiply, and if you do end up suffering from a cold, it should help it to clear up quicker. Sprinkle some over hot chocolate or a cup of tea, or try mixing it with raw honey, which has similar properties.
Citrus fruits Grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, lemons, limes and clementines are all packed with vitamin C, which helps to fight off infection. Your body cant store Vitamin C so make sure you have a daily helping.
Elderberries – these are nutritious and full of flavonoids that help fight viruses. Don’t eat raw berries as they are harmful but are easy to cook and use in pies, crumbles and sauces.
Garlic Has natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, if you enjoy the taste then raw garlic is best as it contains alicin which helps increase the number of t-cells in your blood, that in turn fight viruses.
Mushrooms – these are an unusual and delicious ingredient, because they are the only plant source of vitamin D, which supports your immune system. When you get your mushrooms home from the shop, pop them on a bright window cill to increase the vitamin D content.
Vitamins to Support The Immune System
Whenever possible it is best to get the vitamins and minerals you need from food as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Rather than popping a pill, check to see you’re eating foods that contain the following vitamins.
All citrus fruit (see list above), leafy green vegetables (spinach and kale, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, strawberries and papaya are also excellent sources.
Almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds,spinach and broccoli.
Orange coloured foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe melon and squashes
Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines milk, mushrooms and breakfast cereals.
Beans and Peas
Meat, poultry, beans, broccoli, kale, beer and chocolate.
Garlic, broccoli, sardines, tuna, and brazil nuts.
Meat, poultry, beans, yoghurt and chickpeas.
Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Speak to your GP/healthcare provider before changing your diet, taking supplements or starting an exercise regime. Your GP may be able to help support you with lifestyle changes too.