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CHANGE IN SEASON AND IMMUNITY

It's starting to get dark much earlier in the evenings. The clocks going back an hour in the UK signals the official end to the British summer! Less sun exposure, lower temperatures, increased sugar/alcohol consumption between Halloween and the festive season all add to stress on our immune system. It is therefore important to keep well-nourished and give your body a better fighting chance throughout the cold months ahead.

So, what is the immune system and how does one ‘boost’ it? The immune system is simply your body’s natural defence system against pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and even fungi, which all have the potential to make you sick. The following are suggestions on how to boost your immunity:

Vitamin D3 supplements may be essential to ensure adequate levels as a decrease in sun exposure can lead to a drop in serotonin. Some people may even suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Vitamin C combined with zinc play an important role in nutrition and immune defence. In terms of diet, eat protein rich foods to get plenty of zinc such as fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans and lentils.

Omega-3 fatty acids (O-3) can help boost immunity, as they are needed to help vitamin D to work in an optimal manner. O-3 supplementation increases the activity of white cells but also protects from respiratory infections.

Probiotics are defined as “live-micro-organisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit”. Almost 70% of the immune system is located within the gut, so taking probiotics to boost immunity seems plausible.

Garlic may have infection-fighting capabilities as it is anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Other herbs and spices which have a similar mechanism include ginger, cayenne pepper, curry and turmeric. Immune boosting antiviral herbs such as olive leaf extract, grapefruit seed extract and elderberry extract have been found to contain thousands of medicinal compounds including anti-oxidants that attack virus’ without creating resistant viral strains.

Additional lifestyle factors to help boost your immunity include avoiding/limiting sugar and processed foods. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as they contain anti-oxidants. Drink more water as it is essential in the production of lymph, which carries white bloods cells and other immune system cells. Finally get plenty of sleep as this allows the body to restore and repair itself while you rest.



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