Is your immune system letting you down? Top tips on navigating the season of nasty bugs...

Is your immune system letting you down? Top tips on navigating the season of nasty bugs...

Is your immune system letting you down? Here's how to navigate the season of nasty bugs...

We spent a few really fabulous days in London recently. We met our the new owners of our contract manufacturers (a.k.a. Deliciously Ella), met our London distributor, went to a party at the Groucho Club, saw my son and his girlfriend's new flat, and then (best of all) babysat for our gorgeous little granddaughter, now 8 months old and crawling everywhere!

Everywhere we went, the air was thick with coughs and sneezes. On the tube and the trains we were packed in like sardines, my granddaughter had a bug, my son and his girlfriend were struggling through a bad cold or flu. Germ warfare! 

The upshot of this great weekend? The next few days spent laid low with the shivers and a bad cold. 

This hardly ever happens to me! Perhaps I haven't been following my own advice on how we can fortify our body's defenses and emerge unscathed from the onslaught of nasty bugs....

Understanding the Immune System

Before diving into immune-boosting strategies, it's essential to understand how the immune system works. Think of it as your body's personal defense force, constantly on guard to protect you from invading pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A robust immune system is your best ally in warding off illnesses.

Lifestyle Habits for a Strong Immune System

  • Pack in the nutrients every day: What you eat plays a significant role in the strength of your immune system. Fuel your body with a rainbow of wholesome foods - all the different colours of fruits and vegetables (even onions are super healthy, with antioxidants and gut-friendly prebiotic fibres), lean proteins, and wholegrains. These nutritional powerhouses provide essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, the ammunition your immune system needs to stand strong against assailants.
  • Adequate Sleep: It's not just what you eat that makes a difference, quality sleep is also crucial for immune health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to allow your body to rest and repair. During sleep, your immune system our body engages in vital repair work, bolstering your immune defenses and releasing proteins called cytokines, which help combat infections and inflammation.
  • Regular Exercise: Whether it's a 10k run, a brisk walk in the crisp February air or a soul-soothing yoga session, movement is the key to maintaining a resilient immune system by promoting good circulation and reducing stress. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Don't go over the top though, as over-training can also supress the immune system.Read more about this here:

  • Stress Management: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system over time, making you more susceptible to infections. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spending time in nature.

  • Stay Hydrated: Hydration, hydration, hydration,  is essential for overall health and helps support the immune system. Drink plenty of water or other fluids such as tea or coconut water throughout the day to keep your body functioning at its best.

Immune-Boosting Nutrients

Certain nutrients play key roles in supporting immune function. Incorporate these immune-boosting heroes into your daily meals to give you a helping hand.

  • Vitamin C: Found in citrus fruits, strawberries, blackcurrants, kiwi, peppers (bell peppers and chillis), greens like broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale and spinach,  vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that helps stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are crucial for fighting infections.
  • Vitamin D: Often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D is synthesized by the body when exposed to sunlight. However, during the winter months, when sunlight exposure is limited, it is advised to take a vitamin D supplement to support immune health. Here is some more info on Vitamin D and bone health - Healthy Bones! 5 top tips on what to eat to for bone health... – Kate Percy's (

  • Zinc: Zinc is involved in numerous immune processes, including the development and function of immune cells, fortifying your body's defenses against those winter bugs. Foods rich in zinc include meat, shellfish, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy products.  


  • Probiotics: These beneficial bacteria support a healthy gut microbiome, which plays a vital role in immune function. Cultivate your gut microbiome with probiotic-foods such as natural yoghurt or kefir, tangy sauerkraut (do you love it or hate it? I'm a fan :) and garlicky kimchi and kombucha. A balanced gut microbiome is the cornerstone of a resilient immune system, protecting you from within.

I'm not promising that all the above will guarantee a winter of fabulously good health, but prioritising your health and wellbeing all year round will certainly get you on the path of resistance to all these sniffles and sneezes that are attacking us at the moment. 

Bring on the summer! 

1 comment

  • Heather Speight

    Loved reading this Kate. Lots of Relevant Reminders as I slowly recover from a succession of Nasty Bugs!….
    Sorry even YOU succumbed to a nasty lurgi recently…
    Great to hear about the now crawling Gorgeous Girl! I fell for her hook line and sinker!💚❤️🌈
    I’m going to ask Nige to produce some Rainbow Rősti tomorrow😊 and track down some Sauerkraut!
    It’s more vital than ever to counteract all the grim news just now….. SO…
    Sending lots and lots of Love and Peace!!

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