Get your immune system ready for winter

21st Aug 15 | Lifestyle

Work ahead on making your body immune to illnesses in the winter.

Get your immune system ready for winter

For many of us, summer is all go and the sun is shining - there's just something about warm weather that makes us happier and more resilient. But the transition to winter isn't always a gradual one, and with the accompanying cooler temperatures, people are 80 per cent more likely to get a cold. That's why it's never too soon to start preparing yourself, and help your body become immune to nasty bugs. Here are some easy ways you can do this.


Not only does working out keep you fit, but it also keeps you healthy. As you exercise you are reducing the impact of stress hormones, which make us vulnerable to flu and colds.

"Normally, when these hormones are released we are in 'flight or flight' mode and we are going to spring into action. So when we are active, this actually helps dissipate the stress hormones instead of them building up and causing havoc on the immune function," Dr Marilyn Glenville, one of the UK's leading nutritionist, author of The Nutritional Health Handbook for Women, told Cover Media.

Dr Glenville adds that the heavy breathing which occurs during exercise can stop bacteria from settling in your lungs, therefore reducing your risk of getting ill. And as white blood cells circulate your body quicker during these activities, they'll be more likely to detect infections and fight them off before they take hold.


Your perfect excuse for an early night: a good sleep helps your body fend off bugs. Dr Glenville explains that plenty of shut-eye gives your anatomy the chance to repair cells and recharge its batteries. With too little sleep, you're left vulnerable.

"A recent study showed that missing even a few hours a night on a regular basis could decrease the number of 'natural killer cells', which are responsible for fighting off invaders such as bacteria and viruses," Dr Glenville added. "This will come as no surprise to those of us who succumb to colds and other illnesses when they are run down - normally after periods of inadequate sleep."

Eat right

It goes without saying: eating healthily plays a big part in keeping well. Dr Glenville recommends the best foods to keep you cold and flu free.

"Nutrients are needed for every part of your immune system, including renewal, repair and defence against infection and illness, so its strength will depend on the quality of your diet. No single food can provide all the essential nutrients that your body needs, and any kind of nutritional deficiency may lead to more frequent and prolonged illnesses. It is therefore important to maintain a healthy, balanced diet that provides an adequate intake of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre," she explained.

© Cover Media Group 2015