7Sore and itchy throat, persistent cough, runny nose, congestion, fever, and phlegm production are all signs and symptoms that are common in winter, but it doesn’t have to be present in winter.
Here are the 5 steps in building a super immune system:
1. Eat well
According to a study published in The American Society for Clinical Nutrition:
“Nutrition is a critical determinant of immune responses and malnutrition the most common cause of immunodeficiency worldwide.”1
- Ascorbic acid (i.e. Vitamin C)2 found in citrus fruits (eg. lemons), dark leafy greens (eg. broccoli), kiwifruit, berries, and so on.
- Leptospermum scoparium (i.e. Manuka honey)3
- Allium sativum (i.e. Garlic)4
- Zingiber officinale (i.e. Ginger)5
- Camellia sinensis (i.e. Green tea)6
- Echinacea (i.e. Purple Coneflower)7
- Hypericum perforatum (i.e. John’s wort)8
Drink an immune booster concoction of green tea, with a squeeze of lemon, and a tea spoon of manuka honey. If you are daring, blend a tiny shear off garlic and ginger as well.
You don’t have to perform a high strenuous exercise to reap the benefits of a strong immune system and help improve circulation. Evidence suggests that:
“Regular moderate exercise is associated with a reduced incidence of infection compared with a completely sedentary state.”9
Start your day with a 30 min regime every day. A basic body compound workout can be completed in the warmth of your living room! 12 x Push ups, 12 x burpees, 30 x crunches, 12 x Bulgarian squats. Repeat as many rounds of these exercises within 30 mins.
3. Sleep well
Sleep is regulated by the sleep-wake cycle, which consists of approximately 8 hours of sleep and 16 hours of wakefulness.
At night time the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (which encourages the inflammation) increases, whilst anti-inflammatory cytokine (that reduces inflammation) activity peak during daytime.10
Therefore, proper sleep at night-time will enhance the body’s immune system and fight off colds. Stay away from stimulates that will affect your quality of sleep, such as caffeine and alcohol.
4. Be happy
Multiple studies have shown that stress depresses the immune system.
A funny study investigated a surprising effect of laughter on the immune system.11 The participants watched a humours video and had their blood samples collected and analysed before and after this humour therapy. The results demonstrated an increase of anti-inflammatory properties, which included the natural killer cell activity and immunoglobulin levels.
Laughter may enhance the immune system, lasting as long as 12 hr from a laughing experience.11
5. Stay hydrated
“Water is the main constituent of cells, tissues, and organs and is vital for life”12
Water makes up approximately 60% of an adult’s body weight and about 75% of an infant’s body weight.13
Therefore, dehydration may reduce physical and cognitive performance.14
As we enter the cold season, thirst decreases. It is essential that the dietary intake of water is maintained not just in summer, but in all seasons of the year.
“The adequate total water intakes for sedentary adults are on an average between 2 and 2.5 liters per day.”15
1.Chandra, R. K. (1997). Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 66(2), 460S-463S.
2.Campbell, J. D., Cole, M., Bunditrutavorn, B., & Vella, A. T. (1999). Ascorbic acid is a potent inhibitor of various forms of T cell apoptosis. Cellular immunology, 194(1), 1-5.
3.Molan P, Rhodes T. (2015). Honey: A Biologic Wound Dressing. Wounds;27(6):141-51.
4.Ried K (2016). Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Individuals, Regulates Serum Cholesterol, and Stimulates Immunity: An Updated Meta-analysis and Review. J Nutr;146(2):389S-396S.
5.Zehsaz F, Farhangi N, Mirheidari L. (2014). The effect of Zingiber officinale R. rhizomes (ginger) on plasma pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in well-trained male endurance runners. Cent Eur J Immunol;39(2):174-80.
6.Albuquerque KF, Marinovic MP, Morandi AC, Bolin AP, Otton R. (2016) Green tea polyphenol extract in vivo attenuates inflammatory features of neutrophils from obese rats. Eur J Nutr;55(3):1261-74.
7.Schapowal A, Klein P, Johnston SL. (2015) Echinacea reduces the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections and complications: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Adv Ther;32(3):187-200.
8.Dost T, Ozkayran H, Gokalp F, Yenisey C, Birincioglu M. (2009). The effect of Hypericum perforatum (St. John’s Wort) on experimental colitis in rat. Dig Dis Sci;54(6):1214-21.
9.Gleeson M., (2007). Immune function in sport and exercise. J Appl Physiol ;103(2):693-9.
10.Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., and Born, J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch; 463(1): 121–137.
D’Anei KE, Constant F, Rosenberg IH (2006). Hydration and cognitive function in children. Nutr Rev 64, 457–464.
11.Berk L, Felten D, Tan S, Bittman B, Westengard J. (2001). Modulation of neuroimmune parameters during the eustress of humor-associated mirthful laughter. Altern Ther HealthMed.;7:62–72. 74–76.
12.Lang F, Waldegger S (1997). Regulating cell volume. Am Scientist 85, 456–463.
13.Wang ZM, Deurenberg P, Wang W, Pietrobelli A, Baumgartner RN, Heymsfield SB (1999). Hydration of fat-free body mass: a review and critique of a classic body-composition constant. Am J Clin Nutr 69, 833–841.
14.Malisova O, Athanasatou A, Pepa A, Husemann M, Domnik K, Braun H, Mora-Rodriguez R, Ortega JF, Fernandez-Elias VE, Kapsokefalou M (2016). Water Intake and Hydration Indices in Healthy European Adults: The European Hydration Research Study (EHRS). Nutrients;8(4).
15.EFSA (2008). Draft dietary reference values for water. Scientific Opinion of the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies, (agreed on 11 April 2008 for release for public consultation).