Strengthen your immune system

The medical definition of ‘immune’ is ‘Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.’ Foreign organisms, such as bacteria and virus, are constantly trying to enter the human body. The body has an ingenious defense system, the immune system, that prevents such organisms from establishing themselves. Let’s see how we can strengthen our immune defence.

The cells of the immune system are found in all tissues of the body and therefore it doesn’t take long before a foreign organism meets these immune cells. The strength of your immune system depends on a lot of factors since it is such a complex system. For instance, our immune system’s capability becomes reduced as we age. The idea of strengthening your immunity is intriguing, but exactly how it works, scientists are still struggling to determine. What we do know is that for the immune system to function well, it requires balance and harmony. Therefore, general healthy-living strategies are a good way to start giving your immune system the support it needs.

There are several things you can do such as:
• Eat a diet high in fruits & vegetables
•Ensure a healthy gut microbiome
• Maintain a healthy weight
• Exercise regularly 
• Get adequate sleep 
• Limit stress 
•Take steps to avoid infection 



You have probably heard that you should eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. But do you know why?
Fruits and vegetables contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and dietary fibre that have many beneficial effects on your health. When eating fruits and vegetables, try to choose a variety from all the colours of the rainbow! Each colour actually reflects different kinds of phytonutrients that positively impact your health in many different ways. 1

Here is a selection of phytonutrients:

Purple/Blue found in grapes, blueberries, blackcurrants, blackberries etc:

Orange/Red found in carrots, bell peppers, oranges etc:

Yellow/White found in turmeric and garlic etc:

Green found in spinach, broccoli, kale, asparagus etc:

So, what do these phytonutrients actually do? They have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Antioxidants protect against oxidative stress by keeping free radicals in check.

Oxidative stress harms cells in your body and is a burden to your immune defence. It’s caused by accumulated levels of free radicals in the body. Free radicals are actually natural byproducts, also called waste products, from various chemical reactions that occur in the cells in our body. Unhealthy behaviour such as excessive exposure to the sun, smoking, drinking alcohol and eating fried and burned foods may increase these free radicals in your body. As you can imagine it’s vital to eat a diet high in fruits, berries and vegetables to ensure you get important phytonutrients that fight oxidative stress. 

Vitamins & Minerals

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) there are specific vitamins and minerals that contributes to the normal function of the immune system and those are:
Vitamin A
Vitamin B6
Folic acid
Vitamin B12
Vitamin C
Vitamin D 

EFSA also states that the following vitamins and minerals contributes to protection of cells from oxidative stress:
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Riboflavin (B2)

There is no substitute for a healthy diet but food supplements can help to maintain an adequate intake of certain nutrients (phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals) that have antioxidative effects, during times of stress or when you’re feeling a little run down.

If you don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables you can also supplement with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, that have antioxidative effects.

It’s been shown that antioxidant supplementation can reverse several age-associated immune deficiencies 2, resulting in increased levels of immune boosting white blood cells, upregulated immune response and suppressed inflammation.


Even though immune cells are found in all tissues of the body, 70% of your immune system is found in your gut. A healthy gut is therefore one of the first lines of defence for the immune system.
The best you can do for your gut health is to feed the good microbes with the food they love the most – dietary fibre and especially prebiotic fibre.
Prebiotic fibre is a type of soluble (gel-forming) fermentable dietary fibre. The most studied prebiotic fibres are inulin and FOS (fructooligosaccharides) that you can find naturally in e.g. chicory root, artichoke, garlic, leek, onion and banana.

Not only do prebiotics improve your digestive health they can also have positive benefits on your immune defence.3


There is strong evidence indicating that excess weight or obesity negatively impacts your immune function and defence.4 Obesity also impairs the immune response to influenza and influenza vaccination. Compared with vaccinated healthy-weight adults, vaccinated obese adults have twice the risk of influenza or influenza-like illness.5

Maintaining a healthy weight is therefore a vital thing to strive for. One step towards a healthy weight could be to fill half of your plate with nutritious fruits and vegetables before filling the plate with other foods. That will not only boost your antioxidant consumption, it will also result in eating less calories. Fruits and vegetables not only provide lots of nutrients but with very few calories, they also require more chewing and give a lot of volume, which helps you feel satisfied.

According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition6 , regular exercise seems to reduce the oxidative stress levels. This is because regular physical exercise enhances antioxidant defences. The study also showed that untrained people could have the opposite effect, the oxidative stress could increase instead. When only working out on an intermittent basis the body isn’t used to this stressor which in the short term could decrease your immune defence. So, ensure to work out on a regular basis to enhance your antioxidant defence.


Sleep is necessary for your immune system to run as efficiently as possible. One way sleep helps the immune system is in how it fosters T-cell production. T-cells are white blood cells that play a vital part in the immune system’s response to viruses. Their activation is an important step in how the body handles invaders. T-cells attack and destroy virus-carrying cells. In other words, making sure we consistently get a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways we can improve our immunity and defend against viruses and disease.7

While stress is a normal part of life, too much stress, during a longer period of time, is clearly harmful to your physical and mental well-being. The stress response is known for suppressing the immune system as a result of an increase of the stress hormone cortisol. 8 This leads to an increased risk of susceptibility to colds and other illnesses. We can't avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to, because in moderation it can also be beneficial for us in terms of e.g. our ability to focus. What we can do is to develop healthier ways of responding to stressors. 

Deep breathing is one way of eliciting your relaxation response. When you breathe deeply, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize your blood pressure.

Even though we might live a healthy lifestyle and have a functional immune system it’s always good to know how to try to avoid infections.
Many infections are spread through hand contact – to others and to yourself. To avoid infection, you should wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap. 
1. Lather the soap properly.
2. Wash between fingers, on top of hand and around thumb - for at least 20-30 seconds.
3. Rinse and dry (preferably with your own towel or disposable towels)


If soap and water are not available, hand disinfection with at least 60% alcohol can be used instead. When you cough and sneeze, small droplets, containing infectious agents, are spread. By coughing and sneezing in the crook of the elbow or the sleeve, you prevent infection from spreading in your environment and from contaminating your hands.9


It’s never too late to start being healthy. Wellness by Oriflame products are there to support you to live a healthy lifestyle. Our food and supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet but instead as a complement to a varied diet to ensure healthy levels of nutrients. Regularity is key to have the best effects of our products, since they are not a quick fix. Regular supplementation is the perfect solution to filling your nutritional gaps overtime and making sure you get everything you need for your body to function at its best, even though your diet may not always be perfect. 

Our products are not medicinal products, and as such, cannot exert a pharmacologic, immunologic or metabolic action. Therefore, their use is not intended to treat disease or to modify physiological functions. 

Our products that can help to support your immune system are:

Multivitamin & Mineral (man/woman)

Rich in vitamins and minerals that contribute to the normal function of the immune system.

Astaxanthin & Bilberry Extract

Rich in the natural carotenoid astaxanthin that has a unique structure compared to other antioxidants, which allows it to span the entire cell membrane providing protection from the inside out.  To make it even better this product also contains Bilberries from the Swedish forest plus Vitamin C and E. This combination of powerful antioxidants promotes antioxidant health, protecting the body's cells from damaging oxidative stress.

Do not megadose

Heard of the expression ‘The more the merrier’? Well, that does NOT apply to our products. It’s important that you follow the recommended dosage of our products. Overdosing with a supplement could actually have the opposite effect and could potentially be harmful for you. So, take just the right amount of the supplement (as stated on the package). In Sweden we call it the ‘lagom’ amount.



[1] Rui H.L. Dietary Bioactive Compounds and Their Health Implications. Journal of Food Science Vol. 78, S1, 2013

[2] Knight JA. Review: Free radicals, antioxidants, and the immune system. Annals of clinical and laboratory science. 2000

[3] Rastall RA. et al. Modulation of the microbial ecology of the human colon by probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics to enhance human health: an overview of enabling science and potential applications. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 2005

[4] Milner JJ. The impact of obesity on the immune response to infection. The Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2012

[5] Green WD. Obesity Impairs the Adaptive Immune Response to Influenza Virus. Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 2017

[6] Clarkson PM. Antioxidants: what role do they play in physical activity and health? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 72, Issue 2, August 2000

[7] Benedict. C. Sleep enhances serum interleukin-7 concentrations in humans. Brain Behavior and Immunity. 2007 Nov;21(8):1058-62. Epub 2007 May 23

[8] Segerstrom. S.C. Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychol Bull. 2004

[9] Public Health Agency of Sweden. Skydda dig och andra från smittspridning. 2020

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