Is it possible to boost your immune system? What if you improve your diet? Make other lifestyle changes in the hope of producing the best immune response? How can dairy help?
Your immune system does a remarkable job of defending you against bugs and diseases that can make you feel unwell.
James Dekker, Probiotics Scientist, Fonterra Research and Development Centre
James Dekker, a probiotics scientist at Fonterra’s Research and Development Centre, says now more than ever before people are looking at ways they can improve their diets and make better lifestyle choices – and in particular are looking at products that will support immunity and minimise the risk of them and their families becoming ill.
“Good nutrition is vital for a properly working immune system, and products like Fonterra’s Anchor Immune Support supplies high quality protein along with vitamin A, C, D as well as iron and zinc to assist immune function,” he says.
The idea of boosting your immunity appeals to a lot of people, but it’s not that simple. The immune system is precisely that — a system, not a single entity.
Probiotics have been shown to protect from or improve a number of immune-related conditions.
The immune system is a collection of cells, proteins, organs and body processes that protects you from infections and other threats.
It needs to ignore things like the nutrients from the food that you consume or things that are harmless, but at the same time it has to be constantly on the alert for possible threats. It evolves over time to protect you from new things that you are exposed to.
It even remembers threats, so that if you encounter that same threat again, the response is much faster, and you are more protected.
Your lifestyle can strengthen or weaken your immunity. Researchers are continuing to explore the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors that can influence the immune response. In the meantime, general healthy-living and a sustainable diet are good ways to start giving your immune system the upper hand.
A healthy diet with a variety of nutrient-rich foods is important for general good health and to help keep your immune system functioning properly.
Certain nutrients play an important role in supporting a healthy immune system such as vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, and B12, folic acid, iron, calcium, selenium, and zinc.
Dairy products are also a good source of 'high-quality' protein which your body needs when it fights off infections.
In addition, dairy products that contain certain strains of probiotic bacteria can offer additional help to boost the immune system and support your body to fight off illnesses.
James says, “Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that can be found in dairy foods such as yoghurt that can stimulate the immune system through your gastrointestinal tract.
“It is said that around 70% of the immune system is situated around the gut and digestive system. What we eat, and the state of our gut microflora can directly impact the gut-associated immune system so it’s important to make sure you are getting the right nutrients.
“Probiotics have been shown to protect from or improve a number of immune-related conditions. Some of our immunity products contain our unique probiotic strain DR10 (such as Anchor Immune Support) which helps to reduce gut discomfort, and constipation, whilst reducing risk of certain types of infection,” James says.