Spring might be in sight but those colds and flus seem to cling on. Guard yourself against attack with these six easy ways to boost your immune system
Words Joy Montgomery
The bacteria found in yoghurt and other naturally fermented foods can boost the body’s immune system and prevent infection. They help restore the balance of bacteria in your gut, which can also be beneficial for when it has been disrupted by an illness.
Garlic has long been known as an immune booster due to its antiseptic and nutritive properties. Whether you eat it raw or in a capsule, this super ingredient is packed with vitamins B1, B6 and C, iron and phosphorous. It also contains alliin, which converts to allicin, thought to be the major antibacterial constituent of garlic.
Chicken soup is every Grandma’s answer to a cold, but this is more than just an old wive’s tale. Made from boiled animal bones, bone broth contains a high concentration of vitamins and minerals, including collagen, glutamine and glycine. The best way to get the health benefits is to make it yourself at home with organic animal bones.
Getting adequate sleep can help keep our immune system primed for attack. Sleep deprivation suppresses our immune system’s functioning. Moreover, when we get ill it inhibits our body’s ability to fight infection. Your mum was right all along!
Recent studies suggest that if you complete moderate exercise a few times a week you can dramatically reduce the number of colds you catch. Exercise provides a boost to the cells in your body that help attack bacteria. All you need it to walk for half an hour every day or pop to the gym a couple of times a week to reap the benefits.
Long term stress affects many systems in the body, such as sleep, body pressure, heart functioning and digestion. The immune system is the body’s form of defence. When we get stressed the body develops a resistance to cortisol. Instead, it increases production of substances that promote inflammation leading to weakened defences. And weakened defences = more colds and flus.