Natural ways to optimise your immune system

Natural ways to optimise your immune system

Lily & Loaf Blog Lily & Loaf Blog
5 minute read

Your immune system is your body’s first line of defence against infection and disease.

It has both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties.

With winter now in full-force, bacteria and viruses that cause colds and flu are at their peak. So, ensuring you have a healthy immune system that’s working to its best level is essential.
Your immune system helps your body fight off illness and infection. It reduces the severity of symptoms if you get sick. While building a robust immune system – through a combination of healthy eating, exercise and good lifestyle choices – takes time, if you need to give it a quick boost, there are a few things you can do.

Incorporating more fresh fruit and veg into your diet, including those rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin D and antioxidants, will help prevent the damage caused by oxidative stress. The fresher and more colourful the foods, the better, mixing red, green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables will give you a good mix of vitamins. Because around 70% of your immune system is found in your gut, developing good intestinal and digestive health will result in a healthier immune system. However, it can be challenging to boost your immune system through diet alone. 
A combination of physical activity, eating well, keeping hydrated and making good lifestyle choices will help you maintain better digestive balance, to support your immune system. Good quality natural supplements, including vitamins, minerals and probiotics, can help to top up any shortfalls in nutrition. Keeping your immune system in tip-top condition is the best natural way to protect yourself against flu, colds and other common bugs and viruses.

Here, we look at ten immune-boosting foods you can incorporate into your diet.


Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do for your immune system because it has such a great impact on how well you feel throughout the day and how quickly you recover from illness. Vitamin C is a vital nutrient for those who are looking to improve their health. It is found in a variety of delicious foods that can also help boost your immune system by providing an anti-inflammatory effect as well as an antioxidant effect that protects against cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
Some of the best foods to eat if you’re looking to boost your immune system include:

Citrus fruits
Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes are all great sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells which are key to boosting your immune function.
Decreasing inflammation and nausea are two benefits of adding ginger into your diet. It also helps to decrease chronic pain.
Adding garlic into your meals is likely something you already do to add extra flavour. Not only is it great for your taste buds, garlic also does wonders for your health.
Red bell peppers
Bell peppers are amazing sources of Vitamin C, much like citrus fruits. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy skin and eyes.
We all know leafy greens are packed full of vitamins and antioxidants for better health. Spinach improves blood circulation and helps prevent acne breakouts. Spinach is healthiest when cooked for as little time as possible, so it retains its nutrients.
Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients, including magnesium and Vitamin E. Vitamin E is great for maintaining immune health and hyperpigmentation.
Greek yoghurt is an excellent way to up your Vitamin D intake, which helps to boost your body’s natural defences against infectious and viral diseases. Adding honey or fruits to your yoghurt will also introduce better flavour as well as more nutrients.
Packed with vitamins A, C and E broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. It’s also high in fibre and other antioxidants that all work to assist the way your immune system functions.
Papayas have a digestive enzyme called papain which has anti-inflammatory effects as well as containing a good level of Vitamin C. Papayas also contain strong amounts of potassium, magnesium and folate, which all have additional health benefits.
Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which have been said to help prevent heart disease. If you’re not a fan of fish, fish oil supplements will also help your immune system and decrease blood pressure.

We all know that regular exercise, drinking plenty of water and listening to your body’s needs are great natural ways to not only boost your immune system to fight off infections, but to live a happier, healthier life. Exercise has a positive effect on your immune system because it helps to create good physical and mental health. You can also improve your mood, control stress and anxiety, and release tension by exercising regularly. If you feel that your daily routine and diet isn’t enough, you can try taking good quality natural supplements, that will help to top up any shortfalls in the vitamins, minerals and probiotics your food may be lacking.


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