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5 Ways To Strengthen Your Immune System

Your immune system is a complex matrix of cells and systems that works cohesively to protect against illness. Whether you succumb to viruses often comes down to the state of your body — with stress, tiredness and nutrition all playing a part.

Here’s your essential guide to priming your immune system.

Supplement Wisely And As Needed

Over 70 per cent of the body’s immune cells are located in the gut walls, which explains why good gut health is key to healthy bodily function. The digestive system plays an important role in metabolising the body’s toxins as part of our natural detoxifying system.

An increase in fibre and roughage will help to keep moving any build up of toxins through the gut swiftly. The fibre in particular has a direct impact on improving microbiomes located within the digestive walls.

It’s also worth introducing a good quality probiotic supplement into your diet. Take a look at this gut and vegan friendly probiotic I personally take daily.

Nourish The Gut Microbiome. Antioxidant-rich Diet

While vitamin C is high on the list when it comes to staving off colds and viruses, antioxidants in general offer huge support to the immune system, reducing cell death and promoting the development of white blood cells, which are key to destroying harmful bacteria.

Antioxidants also play a key role in repairing damaged DNA and boosting the body’s ability to repair itself. Free radicals essentially prompt an inflammatory response in the cells, while antioxidants work to neutralise them and reduce this response.

Food is the best possible source of antioxidants, so add some of the following to your shopping list: berries, cocoa, artichoke, kidney beans, green tea, apples, tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, extra virgin olive oil and almonds.

Manage Stress Levels + Daily Movement

A study by the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal has shown that regular brisk walking increases the circulation of white blood cells. The main purpose of these immune cells is to kill any sickness-causing pathogens. The same benefits can be harnessed with regular weight (resistance) training too, which increases the heart rate and the body temperature (another factor that contributes to killing bacteria). This study, however, also came with a caveat: any exercise done for 75 minutes or longer at a high intensity causes a spike in hormones, which can compromise the immune system. So, a balance of low and high intensity is key – and if you’re starting to feel under the weather, don’t go all out, but do keep moving.

If you're like me and have enjoyed doing more yoga from home this year, do it properly and get yourself an eco friendly yoga mat for your practice.