Support your immune system
Author: ANCP Date Posted:5 May 2016
The immune system is comprised of a sophisticated network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to fend off infectious organisms and help protect your body from disease. These tips will help keep yours fighting fit.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle
As you’d expect, your immune system performs at its best when you’re taking positive steps to look after your health. With that in mind:
- Eat a nutritious diet based on fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean proteins and healthy sources of oil
- Consume alcohol in moderate quantities or not at all
- Quit smoking
- Exercise regularly, but not to excessive levels
- Limit your intake of sugar, which may deplete immunity
- Maintain a healthy body weight; obesity is associated with poor immune status
- Strive for a positive mental attitude
- Take steps to manage your stress levels
- Make time for relaxation, and get a good night’s sleep
- Avoid any foods you’re allergic to or intolerant of
Echinacea supports immunity
Over 300 studies have investigated the immune-enhancing effects of Echinacea. It provides supportive therapy for colds and flu and may help reduce the severity and duration of colds, as well as relieve the symptoms of mild upper respiratory infections. The herb is believed to work in multiple ways, including helping to stimulate phagocytosis – a process where white blood cells help fight infections by ‘gobbling up’ foreign invading cells.
Andrographis helps fight infections
Andrographis helps activate a healthy immune response by fortifying the immune system. It may be beneficial for infections of the upper respiratory tract such as colds, pharyngitis and tonsillitis, and in clinical studies has been shown to relieve symptoms such as sore throats, headache and sinus pain .
Vitamin C – the immunity vitamin
Vitamin C is needed for healthy immune function. It promotes the functioning of several types of immune cells, including NK cells (which help defend the body against cells that have been infected by foreign invaders) and phagocytes (cells that engulf and destroy invading infectious organisms) . Research indicates that it may reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold.
Make sure you’re getting enough zinc
Zinc is essential in maintaining the integrity of the immune system and plays a key role in specific immune responses, helping to support the body in fighting infection. Research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that many Australians don’t obtain the recommended quantities of zinc from their daily diets, which is concerning, as even minor zinc deficiency may impair immunity – especially in older people .
Garlic: nature’s antibiotic
Garlic is a powerful immune system booster, rich in sulphur compounds (including allicin and sulfides) that stimulate infection-fighting white blood cells, boost NK cell activity and increase the efficiency of antibody production .