Boosting your immune system
Fighting the flu
When it comes to fighting off infection, your immune system is your first line of defence. A healthy immune system provides essential protection against potential threats that you encounter everyday, such as harmful bacteria, viruses and even environmental stressors. Taking care of your immune system, therefore, is an integral part of living a happy, healthy and nourished life.
We sat down with NHS doctor, Asif Munaf, to discuss simple ways that you can support your immune system and optimise your defence against infection.
From our users
"Both teas taste really delicious and I have been drinking them almost everyday since Christmas. I have definitely had less colds this winter. So thank you TEA+"
- Emily Erikson
Our Q&A with Asif
How does the immune system work?
The immune system is our body's defence against microscopic outside 'invaders' called microbes. These are tiny organisms that are either viruses, bacteria or sometimes fungi (plural of fungus) who start multiplying as they enter our body. Our immune system fights these unwelcome guests by recognising their 'dirty footprints' in the form of proteins that coat their surfaces and then responds by sending its 'fighters' in the form of white blood cells as well as releasing special chemicals that attack these invaders. Our immune system, however, not only fights these potentially harmful microbes but also keeps us healthy by regulating our hormones through the millions of bacteria that reside in our gut. This so-called gut microbiome is essential for staying healthy at all times and not just being on the offence against microbes.
How important is a strong immune system?
A strong immune system is not only vital to stave off infections but it is crucial for reaching your full physical and cognitive potential. We know that children who have recurrent infections in childhood due to a defective immune system have stunted growth not just in terms of their height but also IQ. As covid has shown us, having a strong, healthy and fully functioning immune system is not only crucial but also life-saving.
What negatively impacts my immune system?
Processed and nutritionally poor food, chronic stress, lack of sleep and excessive alcohol consumption are all known to impact on the immune system.
What vitamins do I need to support my immune system?
People usually only think of the immune boosting effects of Vitamin C but in fact all the vitamins from A-E are important particularly B and D. Therefore for optimum immune functioning in these precarious times, don't just stick to the old remedy of citrus based drinks when you're under the weather but look more broadly at 'multivitamin' based supplements for optimal immune system maintenance.
What else can I do to support my immune system?
Good sleep, stress control through meditation and plenty of vitamin D through sunshine as we approach the summer months are crucial in supporting a healthy immune system;. As we slowly emerge from over a year of lockdown, a healthy dose of careful sociaistion cannot be ignored. We are social beings and human contact is so important for our 'happy hormones' of oxytocin and serotonin and overall mental wellbeing is integral to a happy immune system.