SHAPING UP: Seven natural ways to boost your immune system in time for winter

Today is the first day of Autumn! The temperature is dropping and the days are getting shorter, which means cold and flu season is just around the corner.
East Coast Fitness Graham Low at Seaham Harbour MarinaEast Coast Fitness Graham Low at Seaham Harbour Marina
East Coast Fitness Graham Low at Seaham Harbour Marina

And, we’re seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases in the North East at the moment.

So, it’s important to give your immune system a boost to stay healthy and avoid being ill over the Autumn and Winter months.

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Sure, the flu jab can help, but here are some natural ways to boost your immune system over the next few months:

Plenty of Exercise

Exercise is one of the most effective ways of preventing a cold. When you work out there is an increase of white blood cells circulating around your body which can improve your body’s ability to fight infection.

If you already have a cold, taking part in some light exercise can help you along on the road to recovery. However, you must take note of your body’s response to the activity. If you feel like you’re straining yourself too much, then it may be a good idea to stop.

Manage Stress

When you’re stressed there is an increase in the hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels over a long period of time can lead to a less effective immune system.

Get Enough Sleep

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Lack of sleep can be a key contributor to colds and flu because there is a reduction of infection-fighting antibodies and cells when you’re tired.

So, if you’re feeling a little run down opt for an early night over a Netflix binge.

Drink More Water

Supermarkets are full of health-boosting drinks, but one of the most powerful drinks you can have is water.

Staying hydrated is really important for your immune system, because it helps your kidneys flush toxins out of the body.

Drink Less Alcohol

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Drinking alcohol can damage the cells in the body that help the immune system. So, too much alcohol over time can increase the risk of bacterial and viral infections.

Vitamin D

A lack of vitamin D can lead to a weak immune system.

Foods like egg yolks, mushrooms, salmon and tuna contain vitamin D, so make sure you include these in your diet. If you don’t eat those foods you could also consider a vitamin D supplement. Choose a supplement that contains D3 (cholecalciferol), because it’s better at raising your blood levels of vitamin D.

Drink Green Tea

Green tea contains a high level of antioxidants, called flavonoids, which have many health benefits, including boosting your immune system.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bread


TOTAL TIME: 70 minutes



125g cream cheese

2 tbsp caster sugar

300g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

200g strawberries, finely sliced

2 bananas, mashed (overly ripe)

2 eggs

125g butter, melted

2 tbsp honey

125ml milk


Preheat oven to 190°C/375oF/Gas 5. Grease a 10cm x 24cm loaf tin with a little butter and line with baking paper.

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Next, beat together the cream cheese and caster sugar until smooth.

In a separate large bowl, mix together the self-raising flour and baking powder. Add the strawberries and gently toss to combine.

Whisk together the banana, eggs, butter, honey and milk and pour it into the bowl of dry ingredients. Very gently mix to combine (try not to overmix).

Pour half the mixture into the pan, followed by a layer of the cream cheese. Pour the remaining banana bread mixture on top.

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Smooth the surface and top with an extra strawberry or banana slices.

Cook for 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.


This beginners leg workout is low impact so it’s quite easy on your joints and you can take everything at your own pace.Before you start the workout go to the East Coast Fitness Facebook Page to watch the short demo video to make sure you get the correct technique.20 seconds SQUATS



20 seconds SQUAT PULSES

20 seconds BRIDGES

20 seconds rest