how to rebuild immunity-1260x542
21 Aug 2023

How to rebuild your immunity

2 mins to read
Sometimes immunity might take a knock and become weak due to various reasons. Read on to learn more about rebuilding your immunity.

How to support your immune system?   

Our immune system protects us from getting sick and from diseases. However, it can sometimes get knocked down and become weak, which can be due to lifestyle factors, such as stress, poor diet, insufficient exercise, sleep, or illness.

We all get sick, however a well functioning immune system that is balanced and resilient, can help you to respond and adapt to challenges effectively and return to a baseline healthy state of wellbeing.

Dr Jenna Macciochi explains this in her book Your Blueprint for Immunity. “A fit, resilient and rejuvenated immune system needs both production of new fresh cells and the removal of old, tired and ineffective ones. New immune cells are only let in if old ones are improved, and improving the quality of your diet and lifestyle will support this process.”

Diet and lifestyle changes to build you immunity

Rest and Sleep

We need rest to reset a stressed immune system. This can mean engaging in activities that require less energy and bring on less stress on the body and mind, such as yoga and meditation. The brain needs to get out of survival mode to be able to heal. Our immune systems don’t have time to repair when we don't sleep. 

New research by the University of Bergen has found that sleeping well may make you less vulnerable to infections. The study found that patients who reported sleeping less than six hours a night were 27% more likely to report an infection, whereas those who reported sleep of more than nine hours were 44% less likely to report an infection. 


Eating well can provide you with the energy, nutrients, antioxidant and inflammatory support to help fight invaders that your body may encounter. 

Infection will bring on an inflammatory response resulting in a degree of oxidative stress, so you may be depleted of nutrients from the extra demands of your immune system. 

Try anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3 fatty acids and nuts, while consuming antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, to protect against oxidative stress.

Avoid inflammatory foods such as sugar. 

The type of food you eat will also influence the health of your gut, which aids immune function.

Microbiota are the bacteria or bugs in our body, mostly found in our large and small intestines. These make up the microbiome in our body which plays many key roles in the operations of our body including the immune system. 

To help protect the gut bacteria, prebiotics that contain fibre may help as they feed our beneficial microbiota.Foods that contain this include green bananas or plantains, asparagus. raw garlic, onions, leeks, Jerusalem artichokes, seaweed. In general, fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains like wheat, oats, and barley are all good sources of prebiotic fibres.

Foods that contain probiotics, are also a good source of good bacteria for the gut, including yoghurt, sourdough bread, cottage cheese, kombucha, miso soup, kimchi, fermented pickles. 

Fibre can also help healthy bacteria to grow in the gut.

Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is known for its ability to strengthen the immune system. 

Vitamin C has been found to assist with reduction in severity and duration of colds, as one study demonstrated, notes Cleveland Clinic.

If you drink regularly, try to reduce this, as excessive alcohol use can weaken the immune system.

Mental Health

Cortisol can play a role in boost immunity by limiting inflammation, explains Cleveland Clinic.   However, if cortisol levels remain high for an extended period of time, the body can get used to having too much of it in your blood, which can lead to more inflammation.

Stress also decreases the number white blood cells that help fight off infection, increasing the risk.

High stress levels may also lead to depression and anxiety and higher levels of inflammation. 

In summary, constant and high levels of inflammation can mean your over-tired immune system can’t properly defend you from bacteria and viruses.


Dr Binge explains in his book Immune, that moderate physical exercise is ideal if you want to improve your immune system, though it doesn’t have to be extreme. He recommends making sure you’re reasonably active throughout the day, taking breaks from sitting down. “This minimal amount of exercise sets your lymphatic fluid in motion, with the result that waste products are removed from your system more quickly. Exercise also has a positive effect on your gut flora and microbiome, through the metabolites exercise releases, which are nourishing for good gut bacteria. 

Exercise, together with a healthy diet, can go towards keeping a healthy weight, which is important for maintaining immune function. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that obesity is linked to impaired immune functions.

Smoking can worsen immune responses that cause disease and can reduce immune defences.

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