Our immune systems are made up of many different cells, tissues, and organs and it develops throughout childhood into adulthood. This array of complex systems is our bodies own defence mechanism working cohesively every minute of the day to give us protection against pathogens (bacteria, viruses, parasites) and without it we would be open for attack.
Sometimes due to stress, lack of sleep or a period of unhealthy eating a sneaky little germ can invade and make us sick. We would all like to know how to prevent getting ill but as immunity is a complex system it is not as easy as attributing it to one answer. The best way to strengthen your immune system is to make daily choices that support immune health and become aware of what weakens the immune system as well.
NOTE: Nutrition and supplements wont stop you from getting sick or catching a bug but they will strengthen your immune system and make you less susceptible.
The first line of defence is a healthy lifestyle
Choosing colourful vegetables and fruits which will be chocked full of micro-nutrients that are needed by the cells of the immune system to be a fully functioning army. Here are some key nutrients that should be incorporated weekly in your diet to support a strong immune system.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral which plays an important role in how our bodies function and keeps the immune system strong. It affects multiple aspects of immunity and is crucial for normal functioning of the immune system. It is ideal to take a zinc test to assess whether you are deficient in zinc and plan a supplemental regimen to get your levels optimum again. Zinc is found in nuts, seeds, and shellfish.
Vitamin A enhances immune function and plays a role in protecting against bacterial infections. Found in yellow and orange foods, liver, and eggs.
Vitamin C is an old favourite, best to be taken prophylactically to ensure greatest results. Found in an abundance of fruits and vegetables. If you are eating your 7 plus a day you should be getting sufficient Vit C.
Use seasonal fruits and vegetables, Mother Nature was onto something when she made the autumn and winter foods packed with immunity-boosting Vitamin A & C.
Throw garlic and ginger into your foods at least twice a week if not on a daily basis. Garlic is a natural antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial. It's been said that while building the pyramids the Egyptians ate a clove of garlic a day for strength and stamina.
Remove sugars in the form of simple carbohydrates (pastries, cakes, sweets etc.). Excessive sugar will deplete the body of vital nutrients as a rule, leading to further inflammation and making it harder to fight infections. Studies have also shown that sugar will suppress the immune system for 1 to 2 Hrs after consumption, reducing the capacity of the white blood cells.