The importance of immune health
Your immune system is your body’s defence force against nasty germs that can make you sick, and immunity describes how this defence force works to protect you. So taking care of your immune health is pretty important to keep your body’s protector ready for action whenever germs strike. Let’s review some things that can affect your immune health and ways of supporting immunity.
Healthy lifestyle choices help your immune system
The best thing you can do to keep your immune system working well is to make healthy lifestyle choices that support a healthy body. Some of these are pretty obvious – such as not smoking, drinking alcohol only in moderation, and eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. But did you know that getting regular exercise and adequate sleep and reducing stress are also important for supporting immunity?
Exercise and immune system
As well as being a key player in your overall health, exercise can also influence your immune system. Regular sessions of moderate-intensity exercise to maintain your physical fitness can go a long way to support a healthy immune system and help it protect you against germs.
Sleep and immune system
Sleep and immunity are closely linked: the immune system can affect sleep, and sleep can influence the immune system. Think about how you need more sleep when you’re sick – that’s your immune system at work raising its defences against the infection. The flip side is that getting enough quality sleep is important for how well your immune system protects you when it meets those nasty germs.
Stress and immune system
Mental and emotional stress can also influence your immune health, although it’s a complex relationship that varies among people. It’s thought that ongoing stress can sometimes affect how well your immune system can respond to invading germs.
Best foods for immune health
A healthy immune system needs to be fed – but it’s important to give your body the right fuel! To choose food good for immune system, look for foods that contain good amounts of protein and are high in fibre and essential vitamins and minerals but low in refined sugars. Think lean meats and fish, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fruits and vegetables in all the colours of the rainbow!
Ways to give your body extra immune support
Immune supporting vitamins and minerals
A bunch of nutrients are necessary for a healthy immune system that works well, including vitamins C, A, D, E, and B and minerals such as zinc, iron, folate, copper, and magnesium. These nutrients play key roles in all parts of your body’s immune response. You can get all these nutrients from your diet, but there might be times when taking supplements can help support your immune health.
Natural immune support
Extracts from certain herbs or other plants may also offer natural support for your immune system when they are faced with germs. Some natural extracts that can play a role in immune responses include echinacea, turmeric, green tea, ginseng, garlic, and ginger.
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Supporting your immunity FAQs
Yes, poor sleep and ongoing stress can affect how your body’s immune system responds to germs. Getting enough quality sleep and minimising stress can help strengthen your immune health.
Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet that contains adequate protein, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and foods high in fibre is important for a healthy immune system.
Healthy lifestyle choices will support your immune health, so avoid smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and foods that are high in refined sugars.
Extracts from several different herbs and other plants can be a natural way to give your immune health a helping hand when it’s faced with germs.