From fighting the flu season or keeping the sniffles at bay, your immune system is crucial to helping you stay healthy and happy. It’s your very own internal army, fighting off illness and infection when you need it most.
Your immune system is amazing. When functioning effectively, it helps fight bacteria and disease to keep you healthy and strong. It’s constantly adapting too, learning to fight foreign microorganisms in a better way each time it encounters them.
While we talk about the immune system as a whole, it’s not just a single entity. Organs, cells and chemicals all work together to protect us from harmful microorganisms. That’s why it’s so important to keep your body healthy from the inside out. When you’re healthy and well, your immune system is in the best place possible to fight harmful microorganisms that may cause illness.
We often talk about ‘boosting’ our immune systems to protect ourselves from getting sick. It’s definitely true that an under-functioning immune system can have an impact on how well we respond to harmful microorganisms. We also know that an overactive immune system can be just as dangerous, particularly when the body starts to target our own healthy cells.
The trick is to keep things balanced. A balanced and stable immune system is healthiest, giving your body the best possible weapons to fight off illness.
Keeping your immune system in great shape usually means keeping yourself in great shape too. By living well, most of us can achieve the right balance to prevent getting sick or to help us fight off illnesses more quickly.
There are, however, some things you can do to support your immune system more effectively.
A healthy lifestyle is your first line of defence. A healthy body means a healthy immune system, so changing your habits is a great place to start when ‘boosting’ your immune function. Quit smoking, drink less alcohol, reduce stress, exercise regularly and manage your weight to give your immune system the best chance.
A healthy and balanced diet is important for your overall health, as well as your immune function. The right vitamins, minerals and nutrients are important for keeping your immune system healthy. Be sure to include plenty of vegetables, fruit, healthy fats and fibre in your diet to get all the nutrients you need.
If you don’t think you are getting the right nutrients from your diet, it could be worth taking vitamin supplements. Micronutrients, like zinc or vitamin D, can all contribute to the overall health of your immune system.
It could be worth taking a multivitamin rather than targeting one vitamin or micronutrient (unless you know you are deficient in one particular area). That way, you may benefit in other areas of your health as well as supporting your immune function.
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