5 ways to boost your immunity
The best way to increase immunity is to make sure your diet is full of fresh fruit, vegetables and other nutrient-dense foods. An 80g serving of cherries, for example, is packed with vitamin C, as well as natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, which help fight infection, says state registered dietitian, Helen Bond. Seafood’s are full of protein needed to make infection-fighting white blood cells to help crowd out viruses. They also contain zinc, which may help shorten the duration of colds. Garlic, chicken soup, live yoghurt and mushrooms are all good, too, adds Helen.
Tempting though it is, don¹t sink into couch potato mode.
Get outside and make the most of the better weather. Regular exercise helps to increase the number of immune cells in your bloodstream says US research. Try to do something - a brisk walk, some gardening or a gym session for at least half an hour most days. Trainer Dan Roberts agrees, but warns it's all a question of balance; you need enough exercise to help boost circulation to get blood and nutrients to your immune cells but not so much that you dent your immunity... if you're feeling under the weather don¹t overdo it. Relaxation techniques, such as yoga can help boost immunity, too.
Take it easy
When you are stressed and run down, you are twice as likely to develop symptoms when exposed to a common cold virus, says GP and medical nutritionist Dr Sarah Brewer. This is thought to be a result of high levels of stress hormones and depleted adrenal glands that interfere with immune function.
The virus particles of both the common cold and the flu are spread from person to person; they may then enter a nearby person's body through the eyes, nose or mouth, says GP Dr Roger Henderson. In addition to avoiding people with a cold or the flu, it's important for us all to wash our hands regularly throughout the day and to avoid touching your face after touching surfaces.
Echinacea is a herbal favourite for warding off winter nasties, says nutritionist Robert Hobson. A study carried out at the Common Cold research Centre at Cardiff University showed that taking it for four months may reduce the risk of catching a cold and lessen its severity if you do catch one.
Supplements can also assist with boosting immunity. Healthspan's Vitamin C Sustained Release Tablets provide support for the immune system. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin however the body does not store Vitamin C, so a regular daily intake is required. Each 500mg (625% NRV) tablet is made using a special process that ‘meshes’ the vitamin with a plant cellulose so that it breaks down gradually to release vitamin C. Zinc is also included as it contributes to the normal function of the immune system