Boosting your immunity this winter

The change of seasons brings with it an increased risk of suffering from the unpleasant effects of cold and flu viruses.  This probably occurs during this time of the year because we tend to spend more time indoors close to other people allowing the spread of viruses, and these viruses are more easily dispersed from one person to another in dryer, colder air.


Equally important at this time of the year is that we are less active and more likely to be neglecting a healthy nutritious diet.  Clinical studies in humans have shown that moderate regular exercise can decrease the incidence of microbial infections such as flu and common cold viruses.  However, excessive intense exercise can lead to increased susceptibility to infection, possibly due to the stress from the excessive exercise overcoming the body’s natural defense mechanisms.  These natural defense mechanisms include cytokines, chemical messengers that our body makes to control infection by microbes such as tissue necrosis factor a (TNF-a) and Interluekin-6 (IL-6), and cells in our blood that fight infection including T lymphocytes. Human clinical studies have shown that consumption of fruits and vegetables, particularly those rich in anthocyanins, has been shown to modulate levels of the cytokines TNF-a and IL-6, and infection-fighting T lymphocytes, leading to a boosted immunity status, helping to fight microbial infection including flu and cold viruses.  In particular the anthocyanins in New Zealand Blackcurrants have been shown to be clinically effective at boosting the immune status of the body.


So to reduce the possibility of suffering from a cold or flu this winter it makes good sense to maintain regular moderate exercise and keep eating fruit and vegetables, including those delicious New Zealand Blackcurrants.

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