We are frequently bombarded with news and articles on the latest (and most dangerous) infections and diseases making their rounds. While a wide range of external factors may be held responsible for this, prevention works much better than cure and a strong immune system could act as a “STOP” sign for any viruses that are thinking of setting up camp in your body.

Here are some simple, yet powerful ways to boost your immune system and fortify those defences in anticipation of future attacks!  

1. Get Enough Sleep and Manage Stress 

Getting enough sleep and maintaining manageable stress levels help to moderate the body’s levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone. Produced in the adrenal glands located on top of each kidney, cortisol is released in response to events and circumstances such as sleep deprivation  or acute stress.

Cortisol functions to reduce inflammation in the body, which is good, but over time, these efforts to reduce inflammation also suppress the immune system. Chronic inflammation, caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, insufficient sleep, and stress causes cortisol levels to soar, wreaking havoc on the immune system.

A compromised immune system may leave you susceptible to colds and other illnesses, the tendency to develop food allergies, and an increased risk of an assortment of gastrointestinal issues. Therefore, get enough sleep and keep your stress levels down to maintain a strong defense against illnesses!

NOTE: In additional to a spike in cortisol production, there are several other consequences of not getting enough sleep regularly. Find out more by clicking here.  

2. A Spoonful of Yoghurt Keeps the Doctor Away

Maintaining a healthy digestive system is an important part of having a strong immune system, as 70 to 80 per cent of our immune system resides in our gut. A bacterial imbalance in your gut can offset the chemical composition of your immune system and leave you open to disease.

A morning dose of yoghurt helps to keep your immune system strong with a helpful influx of probiotics - or good bacteria - that helps boost your immune system.

Studies indicate probiotics supplements reduce the incidence of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Fermented milk products have also been shown to reduce respiratory infections in adults and kids. 

3. Take Extra Vitamin C

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, has long been known as a nutrient that is especially helpful for the immune system. Vitamin C helps stimulate the immune system to fight off foreign cells that invade the body. Additionally, research shows that Vitamin C supplements can actually increase the number of antibodies your body produces, vital in protecting your body from bacteria and viruses.

While the required doses vary from person to person, adult men are generally advised to consume 90mg of Vitamin C daily, while adult women should get at least 75mg each day. Mega doses ranging between 250mg and 1g of Vitamin C per day are sometimes used to help decrease the incidence and duration of colds.

Citrus fruits and potatoes are both loaded with Vitamin C, while many fruit juices contain 100% of the Vitamin C your body needs daily. 

4. Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

A well-balanced diet can ensure that your body gets the nutrients needed by your immune system. A study of older adults showed that boosting fruit and vegetable intake improved antibody response to the Pneumovax vaccine, which protects against Streptococcus Pneumonia.

Besides the specific vitamins, minerals and herbs that have been mentioned, make sure that you are consuming a healthy overall diet. Having a balanced diet that contains all of the nutrients your body needs will help ensure that your body, and immune system, is functioning optimally.

Try to incorporate lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy into your diet. These foods will provide you with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are especially helpful for the immune system.

Remember, when buying any sort of vitamin, mineral or herbal supplements, you must do your research. Since supplements are generally not regulated, you have to make sure that you are buying from a reputable company. Look online for user reviews and other information about the company.

Pro-tip: Go for the garlic. Garlic is a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent and immune booster. Because heat deactivates a key active ingredient, add it to foods just before serving.

Pro-tip 2: If you travel on a regular basis for business purposes, you can maintain your well-balanced diet on the go easily too.

5. Drink Tea

People who drank five cups a day of black tea for two weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink, in a Harvard study.

The amino acid that’s responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea - decaf versions have it, too! The optimal dose is several cups daily.

Pro-tip: To get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while you brew.

While there are numerous ways to boost your immune system and stave off illness, the most useful tips are to eat a well-balanced diet and to integrate lots of natural Vitamin C. These natural disease-fighters are well-equipped to keep your body running at maximum efficiency, keeping you healthy and raring to take on the challenges that lie ahead!


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