7 Ways to Support Your Immune System

7 Ways to Support Your Immune System

With the current global chaos surrounding the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, there is a lot of advice being published around how to minimise the risk of infection. 

People are naturally looking for information on how to give their immune systems extra support in the meantime. 

Bearing in mind that the flu season rolls around every winter, we thought it would be helpful to put together a list of our own tips on how to stay healthy, stay positive and stay well. 

We’ve also linked to our top immune system support products (including some of our new great value bundles). 

 

Stay hydrated 

More than half of our body weight is composed of water, so even when you’re well, it’s important to stay hydrated. 

You’re probably already aware that, ideally, you should be drinking the equivalent of 8 glasses of water a day. That sounds like a lot of water, but it’s also fine to substitute in teas, soups, broths, and other healthy low-sugar drinks.

Drinking water, in itself, won’t stop you from getting the flu or the coronavirus if you’ve been exposed to it (contrary to some debunked claims that have been circulating on social media [1]). It will, however, be good for your general overall health. 

If you’re already unwell, staying hydrated is essential, especially if you’re suffering from a fever. 

If you also have a cough, we recommend this soothing lemon, ginger and honey tea recipe: 

cough remedy lemon ginger tea

Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeinated coffee and tea. These can leave you dehydrated if you’re not also drinking plenty of water.

 

Get all the rest you need

Studies have shown that if you're not getting enough sleep, or enough quality sleep, this can have a negative impact on your immune system. 

This study states that “shorter sleep durations are associated with a rise in suffering from the common cold.” [2]

The common cold is caused by a virus, normally a rhinovirus, although some colds can also be caused by types of coronaviruses. 

If you’re not getting the 7-9 hours sleep you need each night, you’re more likely to get sick when you’re exposed to a virus. You may also have a weaker immune response, which may result in worse symptoms and a slower recovery. 

Getting enough rest and sleep when you’re well, and especially when you’re ill, will improve your immune response and give you the best fighting chance against an infection.

Improve your sleep quality by 

  • avoiding looking at digital screens before bed
  • getting to bed before 10:30pm
  • keeping your room dark and cool
  • reading in bed (non-digital screen)
  • eating at least 90 minutes before you go to bed

 

Eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet

Although it is tempting to stock up with packaged food that will last, such as dried pasta, processed foods are not the best option. Try to include as many nutrient-dense foods as possible in your diet. 

Red meat and organ meat

If you eat meat, make sure you include plenty of nutrient-dense lean red meat in your diet, as well as organ meat. 

Nowadays most of us are more accustomed to eating muscle meat than organ meat, but most organs are highly nutritious. These include liver (the most nutritious [3]), kidneys, heart, brain, tripe, tongue and sweetbreads (pancreas and thymus gland).

Organs are especially rich in B-vitamins, including vitamin B12 and folate. They also contain minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium, as well as vitamins A, D, E and K.

Needless to say, both muscle meat and organ meats are an excellent source of protein, providing all nine essential amino acids that your body needs.

Vitamin C

As far as certain vitamins are concerned, here’s what science tells us. 

Although there are many claims around vitamin C and its ability to help fight infection, there just isn’t the scientific evidence to support this. 

Experts do not believe that vitamin C will help prevent people getting infected with viruses, nor that it will be much help if you start taking it once you’re already ill. [4]

However, eating a diet that is rich in all the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs is always important. Vitamin C, for example, has many important roles in the body, including supporting normal immune function. 

As this study states, “Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system.” [5]

People with a healthy lifestyle - which includes getting enough exercise, looking after your mental health, as well as having a nutritious diet - are going to be in the strongest position to fight infection. 

Leafy greens like spinach and kale are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are especially rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and folate. Try adding spinach to an omelette or scrambled eggs, or adding kale to a fruit smoothie.

Alternatively, get all your greens in one drink with our refreshing Orange & Lime flavoured Organic Greens drink

For additional support, our Broccoli Sprout Extract is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, calcium and fibre. 

Vitamin D

With all the hype around vitamin C, vitamin D tends to be forgotten when it comes to our immune system.

We know that there’s a connection between exposure to the sun and the amount of vitamin D in our body. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, the sun's UVB rays interact with cholesterol in our skin cells. This provides enough energy for the skin to synthesise vitamin D.

We often think of vitamin D in terms of its role in aiding the absorption of calcium, and therefore its importance in maintaining healthy bones. 

But vitamin D also plays a crucial role in immune response. This may explain why we’re more susceptible to getting ill in the winter, when the days are shorter and we’re less exposed to the sun. 

In fact, the NHS recommends everyone should consider taking a daily supplement containing at least 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter. [6]

As this study explains, ‘vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection.’ [7]

Make sure you’re getting the vitamin D your body needs by eating foods such as salmon, eggs, and wild mushrooms.

If you would like to take a vitamin D supplement for extra support, try our Vitamin D3 + K2 supplement.

 

Keep warm

Although cold, wet weather doesn’t actually make you ill, it can weaken your immune defences and thus leave you more vulnerable to infection. 

Make sure you wrap up warm and wear weather-appropriate clothing, and that you keep your home at a comfortable temperature during the winter.

You can also keep warm by making sure you have at least one hot meal a day, and by drinking hot drinks throughout the day.

For a warm, soothing, and restorative drink, try our spiced Curcumin Latte.

curcumin latte

 

Keep calm

The sensible slogan “Keep Calm and Carry On” may also serve you well when it comes to staying well and fighting off infection. 

A scientific study showed a link between stress and resistance to infection, namely that people with high stress levels are more susceptible to infection with common cold viruses. [8]

It also showed that stressful situations such as forced exercise, isolation, and exposure to the cold make animals more vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections. 

If you can’t remove stress from your life completely, then try to find ways of coping with it. 

Talk to and spend time with friends and family to avoid becoming isolated. 

Avoid stressful situations where possible. 

Do something relaxing like yoga, meditation (we recommend zivaONLINE), reading a good book, or even watching your favourite TV series on Netflix. Try to avoid constantly checking news updates, and limit this to twice a day.

 

yoga to stay calm boosts your immune system

Photo: Pixabay

 

Stay active

There is no strong scientific evidence to suggest that exercise strengthens your immunity to certain illnesses. However, staying active can help us feel better through the release of endorphins (the ‘happy hormone’) and thus help relieve stress. [9]

At the time of writing, many parts of the world are in enforced quarantine in their own homes, so it may be difficult to stay active, especially if you don’t have a garden. 

But walking around the house, cleaning, and doing exercise from YouTube videos in your living room are all good ways of staying active. If you have a garden, you can also dig out the trampoline, do some gardening, or do your normal workout in the fresh air.

If you’re able to, go for a brisk walk in the park alone and take time to appreciate the little things in life. 

walk in the park immunity

Photo: Pixabay

 

Take a probiotic supplement

Probiotics may be good for immune system support, as they help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria in the gut. 

There is some evidence to suggest that taking probiotics reduces the chance of getting respiratory infections (such as common colds and the flu) and reduces the duration of infections once you've got them. [10]

This evidence is consistent with other studies that have shown that probiotics promote the production of natural antibodies, which are needed to fight infection. [11]

Another study of 570 children found that taking Lactobacillus GG may reduce respiratory infections and their severity. [12]

Our LactoSpore Plus supplement consists of the bacterial species bacillus coagulans. Unlike regular probiotics, such as lactobacillus, it is a spore-forming bacteria that offers important advantages over non-spore-forming probiotics. 

For example, it survives at a low PH (i.e. in the acidic conditions in your gut), it won't be broken down by enzymes, and it can be stored at room temperature. It is also antibiotic-resistant, which means you can still take them when you're on antibiotics to help maintain a healthy gut. 

lactospore plus

 

While there is currently no vaccine or ‘magic bullet’ when it comes to fighting the coronavirus or the disease it causes, Covid-19, all of the suggestions above may help improve your general health. 

And if you follow these suggestions on a long-term basis, this will help you give your immune system the best fighting chance against any kind of illness you might suffer in the future. 



RELATED PRODUCTS: 

We’ve just launched our new immune system support bundles, which will save you £££s on buying the separate products.

Full Immunity Booster Bundle

Contains:

  • Organic Greens
  • Vitamin D3 + K2Vital
  • LactoSpore Plus
  • Mushroom Complex
  • KSM-66® Ashwagandha
  • Broccoli Sprout Extract

Immunity Booster Bundle (without Organic Greens)

Contains:

  • Vitamin D3 + K2Vital
  • LactoSpore Plus
  • Mushroom Complex
  • KSM-66® Ashwagandha
  • Broccoli Sprout Extract

Immunity Booster Bundle (small) 

Contains: 

  • Vitamin D3 + K2Vital
  • LactoSpore Plus
  • Mushroom Complex

 

PIN IT!

immune system support supplements


Sources: 

[1] https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2020/mar/11/facebook-posts/drinking-water-does-not-prevent-coronavirus-infect/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4568388/

[3] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/beef-products/3470/2

[4] https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000980.pub4/full

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683/pdf/nutrients-09-01211.pdf

[6] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8340778

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449495/#!po=34.6154

[10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25927096

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1563569/

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11387176

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