Right now, we’re all trying to find ways to strengthen our immune system. But beyond the basics of eating your greens and washing hands regularly — what can you do to take care of your immunity? Your immune system — a complex matrix of cells and molecules spread across every inch of your body — is your natural defence for fighting infection, disease, and illness, usually working away without us even noticing it. Until, of course, you start to feel under the weather or rundown. Rather than loading up on superfoods or trying to “supercharge” the immune system, however, it’s something we should be thinking about and taking care of every day.
We spoke to Dr Jenna Macciochi, a Brighton-based immunologist and lecturer at the University at Sussex, who specialises in understanding how lifestyle and nutrition interact with the immune system in health and disease. Dr Macciochi explains that rather than attempting to “boost” our immune system, we should be trying to balance it.
Rather than attempting to “boost” our immune system, we should be trying to balance it.
“Immunity is a system, not a single entity, and to function well it requires balance, not boosting,” Dr. Macciochi told POPSUGAR. “Balance comes from more than just nutrition and supplementation and extends to basic hygiene, a sensible lifestyle with regular physical activity, getting adequate sleep, and managing stress. By trying to do this most of the time, we stand the best chance of letting our immune system do what it does best.”
So, while there’s no miracle formula that will “boost” immunity overnight, there are definitely ways in which we can give our immune system the best chance of working at its optimum level. “There are serious infections of which no amount of lifestyle intervention will make you invincible” says Dr. Macciochi, however, “there are still plenty of small things you can do that may strengthen your immune system.”