7 Tips For A Stronger Immunity

With winter on the horizon, give your immune system a boost with these seven tips.

It may only be autumn, but with winter colds and flu around the corner, this is the best time to start supercharging your immune system. Getting it fighting fit will help you ward off the winter nasties or reduce their effects.

Nip stress in the bud

Stress is bad news for the immune system. In fact, it is one of the top causes of weakened immunity. Scientists have found a definite connection between our emotional and our physical wellbeing with the stress hormone corticosteroid impacting the immune system’s effectiveness. Stress is linked to numerous illnesses from skin issues and headaches to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Catch those Zzz’s

In 2015, researchers from the University of California; San Francisco found that people who only get six hours of sleep a night or less are four times more likely to catch a cold after exposure to the virus than people that get seven or more hours of sleep a night. It once again highlights the importance of getting enough sleep if you want to strengthen your immune system. This is when your body rejuvenates itself and it is good for your body and mind, especially when stress is also making it difficult for you to cope.

Be diet savvy

Year-round good nutrition is essential to keep the immune system strong. Make sure you and your family eats a varied diet with plenty of wholegrain foods, low-fat protein, and fresh fruit and vegetables which are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants.

Kick the habit

It goes without saying – smoking and breathing in second-hand smoke are bad for your health and sabotage your immune system.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4 000 chemical compounds. Of these, at least 43 are known carcinogens, which mean they cause cancer. Apart from the numerous health effects, smoking kills more than two times as many people as AIDS, alcohol abuse, motor vehicle accidents, murders, drugs, and suicide combined. A long-term smoker’s life expectancy is about 10 years less than a non-smoker’s.

Get some over-the-counter help

Taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement suited to your specific health needs gets the thumbs up at any time of year. Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E or grape seed extract, zinc and selenium are all important for boosting the immune system. You can also try homoeopathic options. The homeopathic single remedy Aconite, taken at the start of an illness, can prevent a cold from getting worse and Anas Barb is excellent for treating colds and flu once you have them.

Herbal remedies include Echinacea – a broad spectrum immune booster for adults. Colostrum is helpful for children, especially those with allergies. Other good immune boosters are olive leaf extract, cat’s claw, elderberry berry, plant sterols and sterolins, such as those in Moducare.

Give it a shot

Getting a flu vaccination is one of the most important ways you can increase your immunity ahead of winter.Each year the flu strains are different and the vaccines are specially made to combat these particular strains, so it’s important to remember that even if you had a flu shot last year, you will need another one this year.

Vaccination is especially recommended for children (from six months), older people and individuals who struggle with weakened immunity.

Hands up

Hand hygiene is one of the most important and simplest steps you can take to keep germs that cause illnesses at bay. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and clean water. Teach your kids to get into the hand-washing habit too – they are particularly vulnerable to the viruses that cause colds and flu.