The body has the ability to maintain immunity against disease, but when it weakens it becomes less efficient to respond to infections. Being susceptible to a number of aliments and health risks can be affected by diet, environment and lifestyle choices. There are several very easy, natural steps you can take to strengthen and boost your immune system to fight off illness.

Once a foreign body enters your blood stream your cells can start to ring alarm bells which are heard loud and clear by the lymphatic system, a vital system which runs across our entire body and consists of tonsils, thymus gland, spleen, lymph nodes, bone marrow and lymphatic vessels. The alarm bells can signal more and more cells from around our body to produce antibodies and transport them towards unwanted guests.

Antibodies are a large protein which cleverly cling on to the bacteria in our body and neutralise the cells, produced and transported with a click of a finger to the alarmed signal spot in our body which needs help. When an army of antibodies work together, the invader is overcome, however, when this battle of good versus bad is going on, our body also produces memory cells, crucial for when our body is next under ambush by the same invader.

Loading your body up with natural anti-inflammatory foods and herbs is essential to keep up the barrier of health and wellbeing and dramatically reduce your chances of becoming ill. Natural real food remedies in the form of herbs, spices and certain foods are constantly being explored and studied, because instead of weakening our immune systems they can help to boost its efficiency by encouraging the production of natural antibodies and anti-inflammatory actions.

1. Echinacea
Echinacea is a healing wildflower and garden plant which blossoms in America and acclaimed for boosting our bodies infection fighting combat mode. By taking Echinacea at the first sight of a cold or flu you’ll be surprised to find that you’re back to normal faster than normal. Research has shown that this remarkable plant increases the activity of the immune system cells, so they react quicker to infection and eliminate the invading organisms and foreign particles in a flash.

2. Garlic
Garlic is one of the most potent of all superfoods. Not only does it go back thousands of years for treatment of sickness, but recent studies back up the legendary claims for garlic boosting your immune system. Start including fresh chopped garlic in meals and take a garlic capsule or two each day.

3. Probiotics
Kombucha tea is a fermented tea that contains billions of friendly gut organisms (probiotics) that help to strengthen your immune system by bolstering the levels of good organisms in your gut, which provides a first level of defence against pathogens from things you ingest. Seventy percent of your immune system lies in your gut flora and the health of the friendly organisms in there to protect you against pathogens. Kefir is a cultured/fermented dairy drink that’s been used for thousands of years as a health elixir. Kefir is an even better source of probiotics than Kombucha tea, but variety is best when it comes to probiotics, so use various sources for the optimal benefits to your digestive system and immune system.

4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C stimulates the production and function of white blood cells, and may help protect against viral infections, such as colds and flu. Vitamin C is necessary for maintaining a healthy respiratory tract and may protect us against the effects of allergens, irritants and viral infections. Good food sources include capsicum, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potato, kiwi fruit and spinach. However supplementation is often advisable to reach a therapeutic dose that is ideal for maximum immune protection.

5. Astragalus
Astragalus membranaceus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It is often combined with other herbs to strengthen the body against disease. Astragalus has immuno-stimulant, antioxidant and antiviral properties and has become one of the most popular of the TCM herbs now used to support immunity. It has both a general stimulant effect on the immune system, as well as specific antiviral activity.

6. Green tea & Nettle tea
Green tea is a powerful antioxidant which can help to strengthen the immune system-have 2 cups of green tea daily. Nettle is considered a weed that will sting anything that touches it; nettles contain a biologically active compound that can help reduce inflammation, it has high levels of Vitamin C and antioxidants.

7. Krill oil
Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring algae found deep in the ocean, and it also found in krill, which also has high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. This algae is a very potent antioxidant, which is able to help the body’s defence system, and decrease inflammation. Astaxanthin has been shown to be 10 times more capable of destroying free radicals than any other carotenoids and boost your immunity.

8. Ginger
Ginger, a cousin of the powerful anti-inflammatory spice turmeric, is a key ingredient for many healing dishes and drinks. This tasty Indian grown herb holds antibacterial properties, and attributes and it’s a great herb to consume daily in order to fight off the initial invasion of foreign visitors, and build a fort protecting our cells from damage.

7. Avoid processed foods and sweetened soft drinks
Try not to bombard your body with processed foods, inflammatory omega-6 oils (soybean oil, corn oil, etc), fried foods, high-fructose corn syrup, refined sugars or chemical additives. These toxic “treats” place a heavy load on the body, trying to expel and repair the internal inflammation. Grain-based foods like bread, cereal, muffins, pasta and bagels cause internal inflammation and disrupt normal gut function, so reduce your grains intake.

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