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[Guest Post]: 10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System Naturally

In this post, Carmela Pengelly from Nutrition Know How shares with us 10 easy ways to boost your immunity naturally this winter:

If you’ve got kids, you’ll know how this goes: one child brings home a cough, cold or ‘flu from school, they get better but, in the meantime, have passed it on to their sibling/s; you nurse them back to health and then you come down with it. With five people in our family, this can potentially go on for weeks, and is a major disruption to school and work, not to mention messing up our precious weekends.

The good news is that there are lots of natural strategies you can adopt to boost all the family’s immunity and avoid catching colds and ‘flu this winter.


1. Adopt a rainbow diet – Fill your plate with a range of red, orange, yellow and green fruits and vegetables to create a ‘rainbow’ effect. Not only will it make a beautiful visually-appealing meal, it will also provide you with a wide range of vitamins and minerals and phytonutrients, that will help to protect you against winter illnesses.


2. Go hot! hot! hot! – Chillies (both green and red) have very high levels of vitamin C – around 4 times more than oranges. If you can’t handle the little hot ones, choose the much larger chillies as they are usually much milder. I sometimes gently fry some chopped large chillies with beansprouts, crushed garlic and a little soy sauce, as an easy vegetable side dish.


3. Get into garlic – Garlic is a good source of vitamin C and is particularly powerful against colds and other viruses. Raw garlic retains more of its immune-boosting chemical, allicin, so crush garlic into cold salsas, guacamoles, houmous and salad dressings to get your maximum dose. Alternatively, if you want to cook with garlic, the enzyme which activates allicin is destroyed by heat, so crush or chop the garlic and leave for around 10 minutes before cooking.

Honey and Lemon Tea

4. Sweeten up with honey – If your budget allows, Manuka honey is an amazing natural remedy for so many ailments. Choose one that has either a non-peroxide rating or UMF rating of at least 10+. If you have sore throat, a teaspoon every 2-3 hours will reduce symptoms and may kill the germs that are causing it. You can add to some hot water with fresh lemon, as the heat does not destroy the active ingredients. If you can’t afford Manuka, raw Jarrah honey is another great option.

Olive Branch

5. Try olive leaf extract – This is a personal favourite of mine as it is a real master remedy. It kills viruses and bacteria and recent evidence has shown that it helps to reduce blood pressure and manage blood sugar. Like many herbal remedies, it’s very bitter tasting. However, you can buy flavoured liquid olive leaf that is very palatable and easy to give to kids – we have a peppermint flavoured one at home, which I think actually tastes really nice in a toothpastey kind of way. Alternatively, you can opt for the capsules.

6. Invest in probiotics – Not necessarily what first comes to mind when thinking of immunity, but the correct strains of probiotics provide great protection against infection. The beneficial bacteria that live in our guts actually communicate with our immune cells and help to active them and mobilise them against pathogens. So probiotics helps to boost these bacteria, which in turn, modulate our immune system.


7. Stock up on Elderberry and Echinacea – These are great traditional herbal remedies, which are especially useful while you’re actually suffering from a cold or the ‘flu, as they have been shown significantly to reduce the duration and severity of these illnesses.


8. Chillax - The negative impact of stress on health cannot be overstated. Raised cortisol, our main stress hormone, will suppress our immune system and reduce white blood cell numbers.

9. Get some sleep – Lack of sleep is a stressor in itself and deprivation will raise your stress hormone levels, making you more susceptible to illnesses. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Some people need more, so make sure you take into account your own individual needs. Also, ensure your kids are getting enough sleep appropriate for their age.

Hand washing

10. Wash your hands – I love this as a strategy, as it’s so simple, extremely effective and virtually free! Viruses can live on surfaces for up to 2 hours, so it’s very easy to pick up germs on your hands and become infected when you then touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Research has shown that washing your hands in warm water for 20 seconds reduces the risk of infections. Always make sure you use soap and encourage your kids to do so. I became the ‘soap police’ at my children’s primary school, after I discovered there was no soap in the soap dispensers. I nagged the head teacher for weeks until she finally made sure soap dispensers were refilled regularly. It’s worth checking your childrens’ schools to make sure they are following this basic hygiene principal.

Carmela from Nutrition Know How

Carmela has clinics in Rossmoyne and Applecross. Mention the Adventure Snacks website to get a 10% DISCOUNT off initial consultations and meal plans. To book an appointment or arrange a FREE 15 MINUTE PHONE CONSULTATION phone: 0406 559 729 or email carmela@nutritionknowhow.com.au You can also follow Carmela at facebook.com/carmelanutritionknowhow

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