The human body is an amazingly complex and resilient thing. Our immune systems are generally a force unto themselves, but there are ways you can help your body’s natural defenses before, during, and after battle.
WHAT IS AN IMMUNE SYSTEM?
To put a complex explanation simply, our immune systems are a collection of cells and proteins found in our blood and organs that act as a defence system against attacking invading germs and infections.
HOW DOES THE IMMUNE SYSTEM WORK?
Our bodies produce proteins known as ‘antibodies’ and specialised cells that recognise and destroy foreign cells and bacteria in the body. Our immune system also maps and stores information about the invaders to recall how to fight them if they return.
BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM WITH FOOD
A healthy diet is key to developing and maintaining a good immune system. There are certain foods that are known to be especially beneficial to the immune system due to their quantities of certain minerals and vitamins.
- Garlic and ginger
- Garlic holds a high level of sulphur compounds that are great for the immune system such as the amino acid ‘allicin’ which is found in fresh garlic.
- Ginger is known as a great anti-inflammatory and nausea supplement as well as an immunity-booster.
- Spinach and broccoli
- Green is always good (when cooked as little as possible!) Both spinach and broccoli have high quantities of vitamin C and antioxidants our bodies use for fighting infections.
- Citrus fruits
- Fruits such as oranges, strawberries, mandarins etc. produce high amounts of vitamin C, which is known for its ability to increase white blood cells crucial to our immune systems.
EXERCISE, BUT NOT TOO MUCH
Moderate regular exercise leaves the body feeling nice and healthy, and when our bodies are healthy, it puts us in a better position to fight infections. We also know that exercise helps reduce stress by producing natural endorphins, and that stress can inhibit your immune system’s full capabilities.
Take care not to over-train, as this can have the opposite effect by wearing your body down and reducing your ability to fight off germs and infections.
GET YOUR SLEEP
Our bodies use sleep to rejuvenate and consolidate while we rest. Our immune systems use this time to produce and distribute crucial proteins and cells that make up our body’s main defenses against foreign attacks. A lack of good quality sleep means your body may not be producing these little soldiers as effectively which can lower your immune system and make you vulnerable to attacks.