We are all aware of the significance of having a resilient immune system, particularly during the colder months and through periods of elevated stress.  As a naturopath, who works with clients with digestive issues like IBS, I consistently strive to educate my clients about the vital link between the gut and the immune system.

That’s why in this article, I am super excited to dive into the topic with you today,  as gut health plays a crucial role in enhancing immunity. From simple lifestyle changes to powerful herbal remedies.  So, get ready to arm your immune system and equip yourself with some valuable knowledge.

Were you aware that significant portion the immune system (70-80%) resides in the gut? A complex relationship exists between gut bacteria, the cells lining the digestive tract and the immune system, forming a harmonious alliance to safeguard our health.

Let’s explore some key insights:

  • Gut microbiota assists in training the immune system, optimising it to combat invading pathogens.
  • Beneficial bacteria produce antimicrobial compounds, which strengthen our immune defences and help push out harmful microbes.
  • The gut barrier, only one cell thick, acts as a shield against harmful substances and pathogens entering the bloodstream.
  • Short- chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which are yielded from fermentation of fibre, play a crucial role in regulating the immune system. SCFAs reduce inflammation, support immune cell function, and help maintain the integrity of the gut barrier, strengthening our immune system and enhancing our ability to combat infections.


In a state of dysbiosis, where there is an imbalance or disruption of gut microbes, the processes mentioned above can be dysregulated, resulting in a weakened immune system, heightened inflammation and increased vulnerability to infections.


Lifestyle Changes for Immune System Support

First up, a balanced diet is key.  

Optimise your immune system by providing it with nourishment, incorporate a diverse range of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil and lean proteins like chicken, fish and legumes.

 These foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help strengthen your immune response. For example, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit and red capsicum are packed with vitamin C, which is known to bolster immune function.

Choose high fibre foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, as they can support the growth of beneficial bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), promoting a healthy gut microbiota.

Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system. Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds and shellfish are packed with essential minerals such as zinc and selenium, which are also important for a healthy immune system.

Pumpkin, carrots and sweet potato are in rich in beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which plays a crucial role in strengthening the immune system by boosting white blood cells to fight off infections.

Probiotic rich food such as medicinal yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, contain beneficial bacteria that can enhance immunity and reduce the risk of infections.

Let’s not overlook the immune-boosting powerhouses of garlic, ginger and turmeric, cherished for centuries due to their remarkable ability to enhance immunity and alleviate inflammation.

Regular exercise

Exercise is another game-changer helping maintain a healthy weight, improving cardiovascular health and enhancing immune function. For individuals with IBS, starting with gentle low impact exercises, like walking, yoga, pilates or swimming.


Sleep is vital for maintaining a robust immune system. During sleep, your body repairs and regenerates, and your immune system goes into overdrive, fighting off infections and fortifying your defences.For more info on sleep, visit my blog:

Stress, the immune systems formidable foe

Chronic stress weakens immune function, making you more susceptible to illnesses, that’s why it’s essential to manage stress effectively. Explore stress-reducing techniques that resonate with you, such as such as meditation or bush walks. For more tips, checkout my blog

Herbal Remedies for Immune System Support

In addition to lifestyle changes, certain herbal remedies can give your immune system an extra boost. Let’s explore some of these options.

Herbal Medicine 

Echinacea is a popular herb renowned for its immune-boosting properties. It stimulates the production of white blood cells, which are essential for fighting off infections. Echinacea may reduce the risk of recurrent respiratory infections.

Elderberry is another superstar in the herbal world, known for its antiviral properties and ability to reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms.

Astragalus, a herb widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, has immune-modulating effects and may help strengthen immune function.

And let’s not overlook the power of Reishi mushrooms, highly regarded for their ability to enhance immune response reduce inflammation and overall vitality.

Essential oils

Can also be helpful in managing cold and flu symptoms. Tea tree oil applied topically is famous for its antimicrobial properties and can help ward off harmful pathogens. Eucalyptus oil is great used in a steamy shower for clearing congested airways and supporting respiratory health. Remember to dilute essential oils properly and use them as directed.

Herbal teas and home remedies 

Teas such as ginger, echinacea, and chamomile, can provide a comforting and immune-supportive drink. Ginger shots, made with fresh ginger root, turmeric, lemon juice, and a touch of honey, are a powerful way to kickstart your immune system. Including garlic and onion in your cooking also supports the immune system to fight pathogens (and it tastes delicious!) And when you’re feeling under the weather, whip up a hearty immune-supportive chicken soup, packed with nutrient-rich vegetables, herbs, and spices is proven to be a great immune-supporting meal.


Boost your immunity naturally through lifestyle changes, immune boosting foods, stress management techniques and natural remedies, enhancing overall well-being: remember to practice these techniques alongside other healthy habits.Remember to consult with a healthcare practitioner, especially if you any underlying health conditions and are taking medications.

For more helpful tips, jump over and follow me on instagram @lindaspirounaturopath







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