Your immune system defends you against the viruses such as those that cause colds and flu. If you want to boost your immune health, you may wonder how to help your body fend off illness.

This can be easier said than done, but there are several ways you can help – with some simple dietary and lifestyle changes.  These could help strengthen the body’s natural defence system and help you fight of harmful bugs.

Get a good night’s sleep

  • Go to bed earlier
  • Avoid looking at computer screens 2 hours before bed
  • Have soothing herbal teas
  • Do not eat after 7pm in the evening

Eat a Spleen friendly diet

In TCM the spleen helps make energy which we need to boost our immune system. The spleen is also an organ of digestion so taking the strain away from the digestive system by eating spleen friendly foods will really help keep this organ function well.

Spleen friendly foods include root vegetables and veg grown on the ground – cook them well, rice and grains – make sure they are well cooked and warm liquids to drink – never drink very cold / icy water.

Spleen friendly eating is:

  • Making sure you chew your food well and do not rush eating.
  • Space your meals throughout the day (breakfast, lunch, supper).
  • Do not overeat.
  • Eat mindfully, making sure you really enjoy what is on your plate.  Really taste your food, take note of the texture, the colours.
  • Do not eat in front of the TV.
  • Meditation has been shown to help boost immune function and this may be in part to helping us to reduce stress.
  • Try and reduce emotional stress. Although short term stress can benefit us, long-term stress really interferes with immune function.  Try to think about your own particular stressful triggers and how to sidestep these.  Exercise, meditation and talking problems through can all help.
  • Probiotic supplements appear to support immune health.
  • Dry skin brushing – anecdotal evidence suggests that dry brushing can support the immune system.  In TCM, the skin and the Lung are closely related and invigorating the skin through dry brushing also boosts the energy of the lungs.
  • Fresh ginger tea. In Chinese herbal medicine ginger is well known and extensively used to help get rid of germs, coughs, colds and to settle the stomach in case of nausea. It also helps to invigorate the body’s energy.
  • High dose vitamin c + zinc may help to boost the immune system.

Written by Beck Hale – Acupuncturist at Lucks Yard