5 tips to better support immune health this fall
by Marie-Christine Robitaille, Products Expert for Bio-K+
Now more than ever, we are trying to find THE most effective way to support our immune health to avoid getting sick. Several factors have an impact on the immune health of the human body and the means to take care of it are not that complicated. Continue reading to discover 5 tips to support your immune health!
1. Diet and Immunity
Certain nutrients like vitamin C are known to help support the immune system1, but is there really a diet specifically designed to support the immune system? Of course not! The key here is to vary your diet and include fresh foods that are packed with nutrients that positively impact immune health.
In short, to have a strong immune health, it is enough to favor unprocessed or minimally processed foods, to eat a variety of foods and, without a doubt, to adopt a healthy diet that will give us pleasure above all. Of course, plants allow us to obtain a host of useful nutrients for our body. It is therefore preferable to avoid focus only on a single specific nutrient2!
2. Take care of your gut microbiota
The intestinal microbiota is home to billions of microorganisms that interact with each other, but also with several systems of the human body, including the immune system. Did you know that the majority of immune cells are located in the intestines3,4?
Current research proves that a balanced intestinal microbiota could help preserve the intestinal barrier against certain pathogens5 and even modify the production of immune cells.
There are several factors that have an impact on the balance of the intestinal microbiota, and diet remains a major factor! Food variety is the key to success as well as including an abundance of plants into your daily consumption. Plants contain fiber and some are considered prebiotic – which our intestinal bacteria love! It's even possible to get beneficial bacteria, called probiotics, through fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, and especially through your Bio-K+ drinkable probiotics!
3. Physical exercise
It is well established that regular physical exercise has several health benefits. Is it the same for immune health? Absolutely! Moderate to high physical exercise would be beneficial to activate blood circulation and allow certain substances of the immune system to travel throughout the body.6
On the other hand, you have to remain vigilant and know how to respect yourself. Overtraining could, on the contrary, affect the immune system and make our natural defenses more vulnerable.
It is well known that stress is not good for our health and it also has an impact on immunity.
Larger so-called chronic (lasting over time) stressors have been associated with downregulation or even suppression of certain immune functions. On the other hand, some other shorter stressors could be beneficial.
By the way, did you know that stress also has an impact on intestinal health and even on the intestinal microbiota7? Stress can cause certain changes in intestinal motility, gastric secretions, gastric motility, intestinal barrier permeability and even abdominal tenderness. The intestine is often called: "the second brain" – and stress has a major impact on it.
Several studies show that people who experience a lack of sleep are more likely to be sick following exposure to a virus or pathogenic bacteria.
During a night's sleep, several activities take place in the body, moreover respiratory and muscular activities are slowed down, so the available energy can be used by the immune system. In addition, melatonin, a sleep-promoting hormone, is produced at night8.
Why not try to establish a relaxation period before going to bed? Whether it's to get rid of a busy day, to become aware of your body and mind, to read a good book, but above all to try to put your screens aside.
Wishing you a good night's sleep to the delight of your immune cells.
- Carr and Maggini. 2017. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutritents. 9(11): 1211.
- Harvard T.H. Chan. 2022. Nutrition and Immunity : https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/nutrition-and-immunity/
- Vighi et al. 2008. Allergy and the gastrointestinal system. Clinical and Experimental Immunology. 153 (Suppl. 1): 3–6
- Pickard et al. 2017. Gut Microbiota: Role in Pathogen Colonization, Immune Responses and Inﬂammatory Disease. Immunol Rev. 279(1): 70–89.
- Galdeano M, et al. Beneficial Effects of Probiotic Consumption on the Immune System. Ann Nutr Metab 2019;74:115–124
- Romeo et al. 2010. Physical activity, immunity and infection. Cambridge University Press. Volume 69. Issue 3
- Konturek et al. 2011. Stress and the gut: pathophysiology, clinical consequences, diagnostic approach and treatment options. Journal of physiology and pharmacology. 62, 6, 591-599
- Sleep foundation. How Sleep Affects Immunity. Updated page April 22nd 2022 : https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/how-sleep-affects-immunity