Are you fed up of feeling under the weather? Coughs, colds, viruses and stomach bugs aren’t just a winter occurrence, they can occur all year round. A healthy body is dependent on a strong immune system, here are 7 simple strategies to help support your immune function and build resilience…
1. Support Your Gut
Did you know that 70% of our immune system lies within the gut? Our gut bacteria can communicate with immune cells influencing their function. As of yet, we don’t know what an optimal gut microbiome looks like, however it appears the more diverse the better. A fibre-rich is key for feeding our healthy gut bacteria to help it to flourish and grow.
2. Vitamin C Rich Foods
The most recent Health Survey for England showed that only 28% of adults were consuming their 5-a-day, yet fruit and veg are our top source of vitamin C.
Vitamin C in antioxidant nutrient, which is required for the normal function of the immune system. Oranges are the only vitamin C rich foods, in fact, broccoli, bell pepper, strawberries and kiwi fruit have more vitamin per 100g!
3. Zinc Lozenges
Interesting research suggests that zinc lozenges provide a significant reduction in the duration and severity of a cold when taken within 24 hours at a dose of 75mg per day. However it’s important to note this research was conducted on the ‘common cold’ rather than other bacterial infections or viruses, and that guidance from your health care provider should always be sought before taking supplements.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a key nutrient required for supporting your immune function. As many as 1 in 5 people are suffering from deficiencies within the UK. This may be easy for some in the summer, but during the winter, the whole population may be at risk of deficiencies, due to the lack of sunlight and the fact that food is not the most reliable source. which is why during dark winter months, within the UK we are to consider supplementing with 10 mcg per day between Oct-April.
Most of us can relate to feeling run down after several nights of no sleep! Research has shown that people who don’t get quality sleep or enough are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus.
6. Moderate Exercise (but don’t go overboard!)
Ever noticed you suffer more coughs and colds from going to hard at the gym? Whilst excessive exercise may suppress immune function, moderate exercise can strengthen it.
7. Stay Hygienic
Wash your hands for 20 seconds to minimise the risk of infection by keeping germs at bay.
Lily is a Nutritionist in London who graduated from Newcastle University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Food and Human Nutrition (AfN accredited) where she was awarded the Sage Faculty for Excellence Scholarship on an annual basis. She then went on to complete a 2-year post-graduate Diploma in Nutritional Therapy and is currently working towards her MSc in Nutritional Medicine (AfN accredited) at the University of Surrey. Lily’s extensive knowledge of the science of food and health, enables her to regularly write for The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Independent, Women’s Health and Cosmopolitan.
Her frequent TV appearances include ITV’s This Morning with Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, and ITV’s primetime series Save Money: Lose Weight with Dr Ranj Singh. Lily’s passion is to simplify the science around nutrition, to provide health hacks and smarter eating strategies to empower people to enjoy a healthy and successful lifestyle. Her specialities lie in workplace wellness, implementing nutrition-focused wellbeing programmes within corporate organisations across the UK.
Lily also sees individual clients from her London nutrition clinic in Chelsea and a private medical practice based in Notting Hill.