With the global pandemic that is upon us and with moving into the “flu” season now is the time to start helping out your immune system to avoid any nasties.

Disease causing bacteria and viruses can enter your body via your mouth and nose, but because you have been equipped with an immune system you are designed to fight off most of these germs.  It is possible to strengthen your immune system function to reduce the severity and frequency of infections with education and some simple strategies.  Traditionally, winter brings with it greater challenges to our immune health.  It’s an especially important time to look after your immune system.  Your Natural Healthcare Practitioner can offer nutritional support, as well natural medicines such as supplements and herbal medicines to boost the immune system to prevent infection or decrease its duration.

These are tips to help you support your immune health and prevent disease.



Eat Plenty of Vegetables, spices and herbs with every meal

It goes without saying that a diet high in fruit and especially vegetables is the basis for a healthy body, and immune system.  Red, yellow and orange vegetables are rich in antioxidant nutrients, lycopene, beta carotene and vitamin C, and are a great support to your immune function.  Include the following immune boosters on a regular basis – garlic, onions, ginger, turmeric and chilli, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts; and beta carotene containing foods such as carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato and green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin C

Eat foods high in vitamin C daily, such as citrus, kiwi fruit, paw paw, capsicum, strawberries and pineapple.  Vitamin C decreases the length of time and severity of symptoms associated with colds and flu and supports our white cell immune function.


Is an important mineral for immune function healing and fighting infection.  It is essential for T cell and natural killer cell function as well as proper lymphocyte activity, and is involved producing antibodies to help you fight infection.  Good sources of zinc include spinach, beef, blueberries, capsicum, egg yolks, ginger, lamb, oysters, asparagus, mushrooms, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, lentils, cashews and quinoa.


Clean fresh (preferably filtered) water, 5-8 glasses per day, or herbal teas will aid the body in excreting toxins from your body and avoids over-taxing your immune system.



70% of your immune system is located in your digestive system so it is important to look after your gut health.  Having the right bacterial balance in your gut is crucial.  There are specific probiotics that help support a healthy immune system via the gut.  Your practitioner will be able to assist you here.



Sugar is particularly damaging to your immune system, it suppresses the immune system which is not desirable, minimise it’s consumption.  Excess sugar and fructose causes gut bacterial imbalance and fosters disease – 70% of your body’s immunity is located in your gut.



Emotional stress can predispose you to an infection.  It challenges the nervous system, dampens the immune system, affects digestion, dysregulates blood sugar levels, and the list goes on.  Finding suitable ways to manage daily stress will contribute to a strong and resilient immune system.  Choosing suitable ways to respond and react to circumstances beyond your control will help prevent immune decline.  Relaxation and meditation helps too.  Ongoing stress also depletes essential vitamins and minerals from the body including amino acids.  Supplements and herbals will often be of great benefit – let me know if this is an area you would like further support with.



Good quality sleep is essential for a proper functioning immune system.  If you are having trouble sleeping, it is usually a sign of stress impacting your life.  The body repairs itself while you are sleeping, and if you’re not getting enough, one of the first signs is a dysfunctional immune response.  Lack of sleep not only affects your immune function, but also cognitive ability, mental health, blood sugar regulation and contributes to chronic disease.  Aim for going to bed before 10.30pm, and ensure you’re getting between seven and eight hours of sleep.  Relaxation exercises and meditation are good practices to promote good sleep and there are many natural medicines which can assist you in achieving a good quality sleep.  If you find sleep not easily achieved, please see also the handout called “Sleep Improvement Tips”.



Low vitamin D levels are associated with poor immune function.  Vitamin D3 is produced in our body when sunlight hits our skin, and its properties and actions sit in the middle ground between a hormone and a vitamin, regulating more than 1,000 genes in our body.  In one three year study, daily supplements of Vitamin D eliminated the occurrence of yearly colds and influenza.

Depending on where you live, and if you have classic seasons, summer, winter etc, this will vary your vitamin D status.  People living closer to the equator with more sunlight exposure will likely need less vitamin D supplement.  However, if you live far from the equator with colder winters, it is wise to supplement vitamin D during the winter months.  You can do a blood test to check for your vitamin D3 level as this helps accurately prescribe the correct dose and avoid overdose.



Incorporate movement into every day – moderation is the key.  Take the stairs, walk to the bus, or go for a walk in your lunch break (incorporating a little vitamin D).  Gentle exercise on a daily basis keeps circulation healthy and therefore blood and nutrient supply to all areas of the body.  Moderate exercise helps counteract the effects of stress, helps you sleep better and clinical studies have shown regular moderate exercise strengthens the immune system and is a useful strategy to counteract the decline in immune function with aging.  Yoga, tai chi and relaxation exercises are better for certain people, and are therefore a more appropriate choice.



Will help protect you from colds and flu germs.  It doesn’t need to be antibacterial wash, normal soap and water are perfectly fine.  Hand washing and thorough drying is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections, and can reduce infection rates by up to 40 per cent.



The minerals from the chicken bones combined with onion, garlic, chilli and ginger plus added vegetables and herbs give your body the nutrients it needs to fight off any invaders.