The constant threat of colds, flu and gastrointestinal illness can leave you feeling run down, tired and generally under the weather. Naturopath Jodi Van Dyk discusses the many steps you can take to rebuild immunity.
Our immune system is always changing and can have its ups and downs. As you're constantly fight off nasties, the immune system can become depleted, leaving you feeling exhausted and ill equipped to battle any more infections.
Can you tell if your immune system is struggling?
Signs such as the following may indicate that you immune system is not functioning optimally:
- Inability to get over small illnesses such as a cold
- Recurrent colds, sore throats, chest infections
- Catching everything that is going around
Rebuild your immune system using Nature's tool box
A well known component of the immune system, vitamin C also plays an antioxidant role. Vitamin C supplementation can help to support the body's immune system whilst helping to protect it from free radical damage.
Vitamin A helps maintain the health of our epithelial cells. These are the cells which line many surfaces within the body, such as the nose and mouth. The health of these cells is important in preventing infections, but exposure to recurrent infections can compromise their health.
Like vitamin C, vitamin E is a potent antioxidant.
Low levels of zinc can be associated with a poorly functioning immune system. Zinc is involved in the normal development and function of the immune system.
Echinacea has long been known to be beneficial during the cold and flu season and may have a role in boosting immunity. Preliminary studies have shown that it has a positive effect on important cells in the immune system.
Another great preventative herb, Andrographis has been shown to reduce the severity of the common cold. Andrographis is a great herb to take to build up the immune system.
Good gut bacteria are important for a healthy and strong immune system. If there is an imbalance in our gut bacteria, our immune system may be compromised. Probiotics can help maintain normal gut bacteria and an optimum immune system.
Lifestyle factors that can give a boost
Eating a whole food diet is really beneficial for boosting your immune system. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and good oils can provide the body with the essential vitamins and minerals to naturally boost the immune system.
Good sleep is our number one restorative for the body and helps us to wake feeling re-energized. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation has a negative effect on the immune system. Getting a good night's sleep therefore is beneficial for boosting and maintaining a strong immunity.
What to avoid when rebuilding your immune system:
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Poor diet
- Lack of sleep