Time to boost your immunity

Excellent health is very much dependent upon maintaining a strong immune system, particularly at this time of year when everyone around you is falling prey to all those winter bugs we really do need to ensure our immune system is working at its fullest potential?

Boost your gut health

Max Tuck, scientist and author of The Whole Body Solution says: “Research indicates that at least 60% of our immunity lies in the gut. In the intestine we have a vast network of lymphatic tissue known as the GALT (gut-associated lymphatic tissue) that constantly interfaces with our probiotic micro-organisms. This is essential for priming the immune system, teaching it to respond to bacteria without actually having to contract an infection. A good quality probiotic capsule really can enhance the immune system, since our probiotic microorganisms are easily depleted not only by antibiotic usage, but also by poor food choices.” Diets high in sugar, processed food and fat all provide unfavourable conditions for probiotic growth and therefore inhibit our immunity. Eating food high in fat and sugar additionally reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria; this effect last for several hours after consuming such meals.

Five a day keeps the doctor away!

Rob Hobson, Healthspan Head of Nutrition says: “There are a number of nutrients that play a key role in supporting a strong immune system including iron, zinc, selenium and vitamins A, C and E.  Omega 3 fatty acids and the antioxidants found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables also help by reducing inflammation and protecting immune cells from destructive free radicals. If you are busy, live on your own and feel your diet isn’t as good as it should be then it might be time to invest in a good all round multi vitamin such as Healthspan’s MultiVitality 50 Plus or even an all-in-one solution which contains probiotics, Omega 3s, and multivitamins such as Nu-Tri-Foundation.

Get your vitamin D levels checked

Research is also highlighting the benefits of specific nutrients to help maintain good immunity and as well as resistance and recovery from disease. Vitamin D has generated a lot of attention of late (particularly as so many of us have inadequate levels) with various studies highlighting its potential role in immunity by helping to protect and assist in the recovery of disease. A review of studies looking at the role of vitamin D in the prevention of respiratory tract infections (this includes upper UTI’s such as sore throats and tonsillitis as well as more serious lower UTI’s including) found that overall there was less risk of infection in people who took a supplement. In the darker months we are not exposed to sufficient sunlight to stimulate vitamin D production, so supplementation is often required but it is advised to ask your GP to check your vitamin D levels.

Keep Moving

Exercise is vital for strong immunity. Admittedly there isn’t always the incentive to exercise if it’s cold and dark outside, but even getting the heart rate up for as little as 20 minutes, three or four times a week, has benefits, as does rebounding on a mini-trampoline or go for a brisk walk. As well as boosting immunity it e releases endorphins, the “happy hormones” that improve sleep patterns and our sense of well-being, both of which positively affect the immune system.

Listen to your body

In our 24-hour non-stop society, it is often hard to get enough rest. Rest is essential for our immunity, and many of us simply do too much and will eventually become ill, since fatigue and stress increase our susceptibility to disease, no matter how good our diet might be. Take stock and take time out.

Add laughter to your life

Dr Uchenna Okoye, Cosmetic Dentist from www.londonsmiling.com says:
“Laughter genuinely could be considered to be the best medicine. Studies have indicated that watching a funny video boosts natural killer cell activity, vital for maintaining defence against infections.” Indeed, whole books have been written on the subject of healing and overcoming illness just through laughter therapy. Getting together with friends and having a really good laugh should be high on the priority list of any health seeker. Indeed, having strong relationships and a good social network are essential for health; research has confirmed this time and again.