A Guide to Boosting Your Immune System
Published: 30th January, 2023
Your immune system offers protection against a range of infections and diseases by looking out for anything harmful that enters your body and fighting back. During the winter months in particular, colds and flu can be especially prevalent, so it’s important you’re looking after your immune system as best you can.
Our guide to boosting your immune system will provide you with a range of different ways to strengthen the immune system and help fight sickness.
What is the Immune System?
The immune system is a complicated network of cells, organs, and proteins that protect the body against infection. It keeps a record of every microbe it has tackled in types of white blood cells which are known as memory cells. That means it can quickly recognise and destroy the microbe if it enters the body again.
The main parts of the immune system are:
- White blood cells
- Bone Marrow
- Lymphatic System
- Complement System
Why is a Healthy Immune System Important?
A properly functioning immune system will help you go about your daily life, as you come into contact with germs from your environment, other people or pets. Without a healthy immune system, you could pick up infections and diseases more easily, which may have severe consequences.
Your immune system is what powers your ability to heal and recover, so if you feel good today, it's down to your immune system!
Causes of a Weakened Immune System
As you grow, your immune system is exposed to more germs and gets better at fighting them off. You should have a fully functioning immune system by the time you're an adult, that can fight off a range of different infections (including the ones you have been vaccinated against).
However, some people may have a weakened immune system due to illness or medical treatment, which means they will be more susceptible to getting infections. You may have a weakened immune system if you have cancer, HIV, are malnourished, or if you’re taking certain medications.
8 Natural Ways to Help Boost Your Immune System
1. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep has been linked to a higher susceptibility to sickness, so it's important you get enough rest and a good night’s sleep. Adults should aim to get 7 or more hours of sleep per night, teens need around 8 to 10 hours, and infants need up to 14 hours. If you already have an illness, sleep will also allow your immune system to better fight it. There are various factors to consider to improve sleep including sleeping aids and lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly and avoiding screen time.
2. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity plays a key role in keeping you healthy and helping to fight off illness. Research suggests that moderate exercise is best when it comes to boosting your immune system. This could include walking, cycling, jogging, and swimming.
3. Try to Minimise Stress Levels
Relieving stress can benefit your immune system, as well as improve your overall health. When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. Stress can also lead to coping behaviours such as drinking or smoking, which also negatively impact the immune system. Activities like yoga, meditation, and exercise can help toward reducing stress.
4. Eat Foods that Boost the Immune System
What we put in our bodies is extremely important, and can drastically affect our health. Foods that strengthen the immune system include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Lean protein
- Whole grains
- Vitamin C, A, B6, B12, and D
- Nutrients such as copper, folate, iron, selenium, and zinc
Weldricks Pharmacy stocks a range of vitamins to help you strengthen your immune system, including a range of vitamins containing Zinc from Zinplex. Zinc has various benefits for immunity; not only can it help to improve the functioning of your immune system and metabolism, it can also help to reduce the length of illnesses like the common cold.
You should also try and limit saturated fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars.
5. Take Steps to Avoid Infection
Colds and flu can be especially rife during the winter months, so it’s important to take steps in order to try and protect yourself from getting ill in the first place. Some ways to try and avoid the dreaded lurgy are to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face when you are out in public where possible.
6. Quit Smoking
As well as causing a range of health issues, smoking can also harm the immune system and make the body less successful at fighting disease. If you’re struggling to quit, try smoking aids or seek expert help. Read more about methods of quitting smoking.
7. Moderate Drinking Alcohol
If you drink alcohol, you should drink it in moderation. Alcohol has been shown to increase your susceptibility to infections, as well as affect sleep quality. It is recommended for adults to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more. Dry January is a great challenge to set yourself to cut down on your alcohol consumption.
8. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight can affect how your body functions, so maintaining a healthy weight can help improve your immune system. Ways to stay healthy and manage your weight include reducing stress, eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting enough sleep.
Immune System Support at Weldricks
Here at Weldricks, we offer a range of products to help support your immune system, including products for children.
Browse our relevant products:
The Best Ways to Boost your Immune System
We have outlined the best ways to boost your immune system, so now it’s time to put it into practice. Decide which steps might be the most beneficial for you and will be most achievable to incorporate into your lifestyle, and start with those.
Alongside our immune system support products, we also offer a range of other vitamins and supplements to tackle health issues. Whether it's your heart, joints, or eyes, we will have a product to suit your needs.