You’ve probably heard that the key to not getting sick is to have a healthy immune system, but how do you achieve that?
Eat healthy - Healthy eating is prescribed for every ailment and immune health is no different! A diet of colourful fresh fruit and vegetables provides your body with Vitamin A, C & E that are required for the production of antibodies to protect against invading bacteria and germs. These vitamins also stimulate the production of disease fighting white blood cells used to defend the body against viral attacks. Other immune boosting foods are nuts, seeds and healthy oils that add Omega 3 and 6 which produce prostaglandins that also kill germs and bacteria.
Don’t smoke - Everyone knows smoking causes a myriad of health problems including cancer. The damage smoking causes to your cells may also affect your immune function. The throat, nose and lungs are all first-line defence against invading bacteria and viruses, and all are weakened by cigarette smoking. Smoking damages every major organ of the body, increases cell damage and oxidative stress and reduces the quality of blood. The overall result is a depression of the body’s normal immune function leading to greater chance of infections and illness.
Come clean – It may seem basic, but personal hygiene remains a number 1 way to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. Wash your hands frequently, with soap, to remove any bacteria and germs you come into contact with. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as this is a sure way to spread germs from hands into the body. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and wash your hands again afterwards. These simple measures can help you protect you from infection and reduce the chances of infection spreading to other people.
Good digestion – approximately 70% of your immune system resides in the digestive tract. That’s why it’s so important to maintain good digestion and gut health. Using probiotics and eating yoghurt is one way of building healthy bacteria in the gut. Reducing the amount of refined sugar, yeast and other toxins in your diet also creates a healthier digestive environment. A healthy digestive tract means a stronger gut lining to prevent bacteria from entering the blood stream, better uptake of the nutrients for immune health and an immune system that is better equipped to identify pathogens and respond accordingly.
Vitamin and supplements – As noted above, Vitamins A, C and E are all useful for supporting the immune system. Recent research shows that vitamin D is also essential for good immune function. Antioxidants and bioflavonoids – both found in fresh fruit and vegetables - also boost immune activity, and can be found in many natural supplements to improve immune health. Vitamin B is another immune builder that helps reduce stress – a cause of immune depression – and assists in producing antibodies to fight disease and infection.
A healthy immune system relies on a combination of ideal conditions. These 5 tips are a step in the right direction to preventing the spread of illness and maintaining a naturally strong immune function.