Quick ways to boost your immunity

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Most of the time our immune system does an incredible job at protecting us from micro‐organisms that invade our bodies and cause illnesses such as colds and flu caused by viruses. Sometimes however, it could use a helping hand. Below are six quick and easy ways to bolster your immune defenses to help keep your body fighting fit.

  1. Get some exercise – Maintaining a regular exercise routine can help your immune system ward off sickness. This is believed to be due to a number of reasons:
    • physical activity causes antibodies and white blood cells to circulate the body more rapidly, which allows them to detect intruding bacteria or viruses earlier than normal.
    • the rise in body temperature that occurs with exercise can prevent bacterial growth.
    • staying active can reduce the release of stress‐related hormones, thus decreasing the risk of illness.

    However, it’s important not to overdo it as it can have the opposite effect.1

  2. Enjoy a good belly laugh – Sometimes laughter really is the best medicine and will not only boost your mood but can raise the level of antibodies and immune cells in the body.2
  3. Hit the hay early – Sleep deprivation can make us more likely to get sick after being exposed to viruses such as those that cause the common cold. A lack of sleep can decrease our production of protective proteins called cytokines as well as antibodies and immune cells that help us fight illness.3
  4. Take a time out – Ongoing stress can take a toll on our immune function, so step away from work or other challenges and attend a yoga or meditation class, listen to your favorite music, have a warm bath or get a massage.
  5. Eat immune boosting vegetables – Most vegetables are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, and are arguably the most health‐promoting food group. To support your immune health add a variety of different coloured vegetables to your plate such as green leafy varieties (e.g. spinach, kale and broccoli), capsicum, mushrooms, onions and beetroot.
  6. Take an “on the go” immune supplement – Immune formulas with ingredients such as vitamin C, Echinacea, citrus bioflavonoids and zinc can help support immune function and reduce the duration of colds when taken regularly.

Published February 7, 2014
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