Simple ways to boost your immune system

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Simple ways to boost your immune system

I don’t think I’m the only person currently sick and tired of being Sick and tired! With all the coverage surrounding co-vo, it has put the immune system at the forefront of everyone’s mind. People are more curious about the immune system and how to stimulate it.

Which can’t be a bad thing, right?

One thing to keep in mind about the immune system, though, is that when it’s working well, we don’t even notice it or remember it exists. However, when something is not right, that is when we should pay more attention.

How the immune system works

Our immune system plays a vital role in our body, made up of various organs, cells, and proteins. It protects us from harmful substances, germs, and cellular changes that could make us sick. When our immune systems are compromised, weak, or encounter particularly aggressive germs that can’t adapt, we get sick.

Also, if our immune system comes into contact with a germ it has never seen before, we are likely to get sick.

Where is the immune system?

The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection.

The main parts of the immune system are:

  • white blood cells
  • antibodies
  • complementary system
  • lymphatic system
  • spleen
  • bone marrow
  • thymus

How much of your immune system is in your gut?

As more and more of us are learning how important gut health is, I was fascinated to hear that the microbiota in our stomach makes up 70% of our immune system and weighs 2kg alone.

How to Boost and Support Your Immune System

Although there is no quick fix to boosting the immune system, there are several things we can all do to support our immune system and stay healthy. All of these are well documented and tested by me!

Ironically, some of these immune system support methods I have used before but then lost the habit, so this post is an inspiration to both me and you.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

I went to the Perea Clinic in Angel, London, for a lymphatic drainage massage after coming down with a cold, which followed a period of general illness post-vaccine. I had never actually heard of lymphatic drainage massage before so I was curious to try it out and see if it could help.

The lymphatic system is a network of delicate tubes throughout the body that manage fluid levels, react to bacteria, and deal with cellular products that would otherwise cause disease or disorder. It also does a lot more!

The lymphatic system is made up of:

  • lymph nodes (also called lymph glands), which trap microbes
  • lymph vessels: tubes that carry lymph, the colorless fluid that bathes body tissues and contains infection-fighting white blood cells
  • white blood cells (lymphocytes).

Lymphatic drainage massage experience

Lymphatic drainage massage is a form of light massage that stimulates lymphatic flow.

With a low immune system, the 45 minute session focused on the front of my body. My Therapist, Yaneth, would start in each area by massaging the regional lymph nodes and then massaging the area that drains into those lymph nodes.

I went in with typical sinus symptoms (stuffiness, runny nose and facial pressure) and left feeling much better and much more relaxed.

Foods that boost the immune system

There are so many foods out there that can help support and boost your immune system. It makes sense why we’re always told to “eat the rainbow.”

Eating a variety of colorful, vitamin-rich foods, especially fruits and vegetables, will help ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.

I recently had a conversation with Rob Hobson of Healthspan who gave me some great advice…”always think about adding one more thing to your food…”.

“Always think about adding one more thing to your food…”

Rob Hobson

So if you are eating porridge, you can add berries or seeds. If you have a prepared meal, could you steam some broccoli and beans, or add a salad?

It’s also crucial to make sure you eat enough to maintain energy levels and mental performance.

Immune System Vitamins and Supplements

First, it’s important to try to get as many nutrients as possible from the foods you need. Then use vitamins and supplements to fill in the gaps.

Personally, my iron levels are always hard to keep in the normal range along with vitamin d, so those are the two main supplements i use. I started using Solgar Gentle Iron (another private GP recommendation I saw) but have also recently used an excellent one from Dr Vegan.

Vitamin C is also good for boosting the immune system (and was also recommended to me by the private GP). She suggested 2g of vitamin C per day if you’re feeling under the weather, so I’ve been sticking to that while I’ve been unwell.

After reading Roar!, I also take zinc supplements in the days leading up to my period, which helps maintain immunity. It can also be found in lean meats, fish, shellfish, seeds, nuts, and beans.

Last but not least, the implications of vitamin D deficiency on the immune system have become clearer in recent years, and in the context of vitamin D deficiency, there appears to be an increased susceptibility to infections ( Aranow, 2011).

With limited sun exposure during the winter months, especially in the UK, it can be difficult for us to meet our daily vitamin D requirement.

However, if you think supplementation may be beneficial, it’s best to have your blood tested to check levels before you start spending money on the situation.

Take care of your gut health

Friendly gut bacteria found in fermented foods and supplements help bolster your body’s defenses against viruses and can shorten any illness.

Kefir is one example that I have tried and it was also recommended to me by a private GP. The GP recommended buying the ‘mother’ of Freshly Fermented to make kefir at home. Haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my to-do list!

Due to the fermentation process that kefir goes through, it’s actually suitable for anyone who, like me, is lactose intolerant. My go-to when shopping at the store is Bio-tiful Dairy.

I can also recommend Symprove. When I first wrote my review, I knew it was good, but have since gone back to using it to help maintain my overall health. Symprove is a unique water-based probiotic formula that is packed with live, active bacteria.

Move your body

Get up and/or get out and move! A 20-minute walk around the block, a 15-minute run, a 30-minute cycle, or a 10-minute HIIT workout is all it takes to help your body shift fluid and get rid of metabolic waste without going overboard.

Keep in mind that intense exercise can put increased stress on your body, temporarily reducing the efficiency of your immune system and making you prone to disease. Swimming is also a great option for lymphatic movement. The force of the water on your body causes a significant increase in hydrostatic pressure creating an amazing movement of lymph.

HigherDOSE V3 Infrared Sauna Blanket

HigherDOSE V3 Infrared Sauna Blanket

I’ve had this sauna blanket from HigherDOSE for months…and have barely figured it out of the packaging as I have been “too busy”.

HigherDOSE’s exclusive infrared sauna blanket gives you a natural high, reduces pain and leaves you feeling relaxed and radiant, and I’ve been missing this.

Using an infrared sauna strengthens your immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, activating the immune system, releasing impurities, improving blood circulation, regenerating cells, and promoting relaxation. So for those of us who don’t have space for a sauna, this is a good alternative.

I’ll have to report when I’ve given this blanket a few turns. I think I’m going to go for a bit of Netflix and… cool heat?!

More ways to support your immune system

  • Stay hydrated! Remember that alcohol can suppress your immune system, so drink plenty of water with all your holiday drinks.
  • Get enough sleep to supplement all that good food you are eating. Research suggests that a minimum of 7 hours should be our goal.
  • Buy a dry brush (if you don’t have one). Dry brush the skin in a circular motion, especially on the arms, legs and lower torso. Dry brushing once or twice a week promotes lymphatic flow/drainage.

I feel like we talk a lot about self-care, but it’s more than just candles and journaling. Surely self-care starts with the basics? Nourish our body with food, stay hydrated and sleep what we need.

What is your favorite way to spend some self-care time?



NCBI, 2020:

Aranow C. (2011). Vitamin D and the immune system. Investigative Medicine Journal: The Official Publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research, 59(6), 881–886.

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