Can you REALLY boost your immune system?
Even though flu season approached 8 months too soon and in a way that we’d never have imagined, the common colds are also well on their way too. We want to give you our top tips on how to look after your immune system during the second wave and what immune boosting REALLY means?
How your immune system works
Your immune system works to recognise and identify an infection or injury in the body. This causes an immune response, with the end goal to restore normal function.
You may think that when you get sick, your symptoms are a sign that you have a virus or an infection. This isn’t the case! Your symptoms are actually a sign that your body is fighting back against the infection or virus, triggering an immune response.
Can you ‘boost’ your immune system?
While “boosting your immune system” may be a phrase that is repeated far too often, it is definitely still one we should pay attention to.
However, take it with a pinch of salt and check the accreditations of the person giving this advice! The only way to truly ‘boost’ your immune system is to have a vaccine. But you CAN support your immune system by eating a healthy, balanced diet with a good mix of carbs, fats and proteins with plenty of fruit and veg.
What can I do to improve my immunity?
Vitamin C, D and zinc support a healthy immune system. Some of our favourite foods that include these nutrients are:
- Tomatoes (tinned, pureed or fresh)
- Citrus fruits
- Wholemeal bread
- Fortified plant-based milks
Remember, during the winter months in England none of us are getting enough vitamin D so it is really important to take a supplement!
What else affects your immune system?
Exercise and adequate amounts of sleep definitely contribute too. How many times have you felt really ill and run down after a week of boozy drinks, little physical activity and too much takeout? Being an unhealthy body weight or smoking are also likely to interfere with the functioning of the immune system.
Good gut health gang
You can’t get away from the fact good gut health contributes to overall vitality and better health.
One reason that a well fed gut is more important than you might think is because of how it impacts your immune system. 70% of our immune system is found in our gut, making gut health a vital aspect of the body’s defence against disease.
Gastrointestinal tract health depends on the balance of the trillions of microbes – commonly referred to as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria – that call it home. Plainly put, too much good bacteria leads to an immature immune system that can’t recognise or fight invasive pathogens and germs, while an excess of bad bacteria can weaken the gut wall. This impacts the guts ability to produce immune-boosting antibodies, allowing weak points for germs to enter the bloodstream and causing inflammatory responses.
Read our blog on the best plant-based sources to improve your gut health!
Ultimately it comes down to your overall diet and lifestyle and sadly there is no magic ‘superfood’ that is going to ‘boost’ your immunity. However, consuming nutrient-dense foods and juices are definitely going to give you a little health fix and put you on the right path!