We are strengthening our immune system

The medical definition of immunity describes it as protection against infection, usually by means of antibodies. Foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses, are constantly trying to enter the human body. Fortunately, the body has an ingenious defence system – the immune system – that prevents such organisms from establishing themselves within. 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 encounters them. The strength of your immune system depends on a lot of factors, since it is such a complex one. 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? The 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, following general healthy-living strategies is 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

Diet high in fruits and vegetables

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 – collect all the colours of the rainbow! Each colour actually reflects different kinds of phytonutrients that positively impact your health in many different ways.


Take a look at this selection of phytonutrients:

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

• Phenolics
• Anthocyanidins
• Flavonoids

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

• Capsaicin
• Carotenoids
• Hesperidin

Yellow/White found in turmeric and garlic etc:

• Curcumin
• Allicin

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

• Glucosinolates
• Lutein
• Zeaxanthin

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 by-products, also called waste products, from various chemical reactions that occur in the cells in our body. Unhealthy behaviours, such as excessive exposure to the sun, smoking, drinking alcohol and eating fried and burned foods may increase the amount of 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 contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system, and those are:
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin B6
• Folic acid
• Vitamin B12
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin D
• Iron
• Zinc
• Copper
• Selenium

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


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, resulting in increased levels of immune boosting white blood cells, upregulated immune response and suppressed inflammation.

Gut microbiome

Even though immune cells are found in all tissues of the body, 70% of your immunity 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 within 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, for example, 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.

Maintain a healthy weight 

There is strong evidence indicating that excess weight or obesity negatively impacts your immune function and defence. 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 contracting influenza or influenza-like illness. Maintaining a healthy weight is therefore a vital thing to strive for, from the health-related point of view.

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 add a lot of volume to the meal, which helps you feel satisfied.

Exercise regularly

According to an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular exercise seems to reduce the oxidative stress levels. This is because regular physical exercise enhances antioxidant defences.

The study also showed that non-exercising 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 these stressors, which in the short term could decrease your immune defence. So, ensure to work out on a regular basis to enhance your antioxidant defence!

Get adequate sleep

Sleep is necessary for your immune system to run as efficiently as possible. To begin with, sleep 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 ourselves against viruses and disease.

Limit stress

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. 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 our ability to focus, among others. What we can do is to develop healthier ways of responding to stressors.

Deep breathing is usually an effective way of eliciting the body’s 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.

Avoid infection

Even though we might live a healthy lifestyle and have a functional immune system, it’s always good to know how you can 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. Always lather the soap properly and don’t forget to wash between fingers, on top of hand and around thumb. 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.

How can Wellness by Oriflame assist?

It’s never too late to start being healthy. Wellness by Oriflame products are there to support you in leading a healthy lifestyle. Our food and supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied diet, but instead as a complement to it, to ensure the consumption of healthy levels of nutrients.

Regularity is key to experiencing the best effects of our products, since they are not supposed to be 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, 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 can 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.




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