Learn how to maintain your immune system through diet & supplements Your immune system is an important part of keeping your body healthy. As the winter draws in and we try and dodge that dreaded cold weather, it can be a good time to think about how you can give your immune system that extra support.
What is the immune system?
The immune system is one of the key ways that the body maintains normal health. It's a complex collection of cells, tissues and organs that work together to help defend against foreign bodies like germs. Nutrients can play an important role in supporting the normal function of the immune system, with vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc.*
Six tips to help you take care of your immune system
Wash your hands. We’ve all seen the ‘catch it, kill it, bin it’ signs trying to help prevent germs from spreading. Washing your own hands regularly before touching your mouth, eyes or face is a simple yet effective way to protect yourself from catching germs spread by others.
Create a rainbow on your plate. Eat a healthy, balanced diet. The more colour on your plate from fruit and veg, the more variety of nutrients you are likely to get. Vitamin C, D and zinc are great for supporting a healthy immune system.*
Get your eight hours. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can affect the immune system and increase your chances of getting ill, so make sure to get plenty of shut eye.
Exercise. Regular exercise has been shown to give a little boost to your immune system. Try moderate exercise a few times a week with activities such as walking, cycling, yoga or swimming.
If you’re exercising outside, make sure you stick to well-lit areas and wear bright clothing when it’s dark outside. Tell someone where you’re going, make sure you can hear your surroundings and be careful on days when it’s icy and wet. If you have asthma, take extra care and use your inhaler as needed. If you already feel unwell or have a fever, exercise may make you feel worse.
Reduce everyday stress. Stress is something we’ll all feel at some point in our lives. Prolonged stress can have negative health effects, but learning to take control of your stress has been shown to help the immune system. When a stressful situation arises, try taking a five minute break and focusing on your breathing. Aim to relax for at least half an hour each night, whether that’s reading your favourite book in the bath, watching television or listening to music.
Consider supplements to support your diet. Taking multivitamin and mineral supplements may be a good idea if you feel you’re lacking vitamins from your diet.
How can supplements help support your immune system?
There are a variety of supplements that come in the form of effervescent (dissolvable) tablets, chewable tablets, tablets and gummies, all of which help support a healthy immune system.
All of the following nutrients contribute to a healthy immune system:*
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin B6
- Folic acid
Vitamin C is an important nutrient for your immune system. It cannot be stored in the body, so a regular intake is important for supporting a healthy immune system
How much vitamin C do you need?
The current recommended daily amount of vitamin C from all food sources is 80mg for the general adult population. The body is unable to store vitamin C, so any excess will pass out in your urine. Due to this, it’s safe to take higher doses than the recommended daily amount** when taking a food supplement: up to 1000mg per day for adults. Find our range of vitamin C products here.
Natural sources of vitamin C
Vitamin C rich foods include:
- Dark leafy greens
- Kiwi fruit
- Green peas
Vitamin D is recommended to help maintain healthy bones, but also plays an important part in keeping a healthy immune system.
Recent government advice has said it’s very hard to get the required levels due to the low UK sunshine levels, with diet affecting it too. It is recommended that most adults, and all children, take a vitamin D supplement.