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  • Writer's pictureAlison Cowell

Immune System

I was talking to the owner of a local health shop here in Forfar recently and she said that since the arrival of COVID-19, health supplements to boost the immune system have seen a marked increase in sales. Many people are investing in their health and taking every precaution they can to prevent succumbing to this evil enemy.

We humans have a naturally robust immune system response, with layers of defences protecting us from bacteria and viruses. However, there are many things that can interfere with these defence processes including food intolerances, digestive issues and side effects of medications to name just a few. Happily, there are equally as many things to boost and protect them. Supplements can help, but ensuring you have a healthy diet (most of the time 😉) is key to ensuring you are feeding your cells a variety of nutrients they need to protect you.

Fundamentally, having a robust digestive system is paramount to a strong immune system. Yes indeed! 85% of your immune system resides in your gut, so keeping it working efficiently will boost your immune system.


If you're not getting a good regular bowel movement every day without needing to rely on medications, then you need to address the cause of that. Take a look at any medicines you're taking and check the side effects to see if they are causing any of your digestive symptoms. Any interruption caused through toxins or poor digestion will adversely impact your immune system over time. It's a really big issue that not many people take notice of, it goes under the radar.

Next take a look at your tongue. Is it heavily coated? If so, it's a sign that you have insufficient gut bacteria. To fix things, you need to reinstate healthy gut bacteria and you can do this by taking supplements and/or increasing your intake of fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut. Fermented foods are natural probiotics and they encourage the growth of healthy bacteria required for a robust immune system.


Foods rich in vitamin C such as lemons, oranges, limes, Kiwi fruit, spinach, kale and broccoli all help keep your immune system strong.

Fresh fish is also a powerful ally. Oily fish contains omega 3. which has virus fighting and bacteria killing properties. If you're not a fish fan, then consider buying an omega-3 supplements

Fish is also a good source of zinc, an immune boosting nutrient that supports every cell of your body. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc too, so pop them into meals whenever you can, an easy addition to salads, breakfast cereals and smoothies.

It's long been known since our ancestral days that garlic is a powerful immune boosting food because it contains a compound called allicin. If you can eat it raw, great! Pop one or two cloves into a smoothie a day. However, if you're worried about breathing on people you can buy odourless garlic capsules instead.

Turmeric is a mild spice containing a polyphenol called curcumin. This not only has great anti-inflammatory properties but can also ward off colds and flus.

Finally honey is a great ally. It's full of antioxidants that will strengthen your immune system. Add it to hot water with lemon and ginger or mix it with some cinnamon for extra protection.


Check in with your body, taking note of any signs and signals that your immunity might be low; for instance, the coating on your tongue, prolonged fatigue, cold sores and mouth ulcers are all signs that you are lacking in nutrients. Also pay attention to the condition of your skin - if you're getting lots of spots that's a sign you could be lacking in zinc, one of the major nutrients required for immunity.

Below is a free fact sheet for you to download and use as an easy reference.

Fact sheet - immune system
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