The immune system checklist

The immune system is your body’s set of defences against harmful bacteria and viruses. It is important to have strong immunity, especially when it comes to fighting off potential infections. Having robust immunity is dependent upon the practice of good habits, such as the consumption of a healthy, balanced diet, and regular exercise, and can be weakened by negative lifestyle practices. Have a look at the checklist below and ask yourself:

  • Do you frequently go through bouts of cold and/or flu?
  • Do you have an unhealthy body weight?
  • Do you lead a stressful lifestyle?
  • Do you experience irregular sleep patterns?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you drink alcohol?

If you answered yes to one (or several) of these questions, chances are that your immune health may be suboptimal. Let’s take a look at 5 things that impact your immunity:

  • Stress: You may notice that you can sometimes become unwell when you have completed a big project or undergone a strong emotional experience. This happens because your body secretes cortisol (a stress hormone) which affects the skin’s ability to keep out certain bacteria, viruses and fungi. Prolonged stress can also affect the development of immune cells in your body, and inhibit their ability to fight off infections.1
  • Frequent infections (cold and/or flu): Experiencing frequent and multiple bouts of cold/flu annually can be a sign of weakened immunity. When you get the flu, your immune system kicks into overdrive, heating up your body and causing a fever to fight off an infection. Your throat can hurt as a result of the cells that line the airway causing inflammation because it is trying to stop the virus from spreading. If you go through multiple infections in a year, your immune system will put strain on your body as it needs to produce antibodies at an accelerated rate on a frequent basis.
  • Tiredness and fatigue: If you are feeling tired, irrespective of how many hours of sleep you get every night, it could be a sign of weakened immunity2. Poor sleep affects the skin’s regenerative abilities, which might make wound healing or fighting of infections more difficult.
  • Bodyweight: If your weight is not proportionate to your height (i.e. you are overweight or underweight), it could compromise your immunity. When you are overweight3, the higher amounts of fat cells can cause an increased secretion of certain chemicals by immune cells, resulting in chronic inflammation which may affect the body’s ability to absorb key nutrients. Alternatively, if you are underweight and suffer a nutritional deficiency, your immune system may be weakened.4 Neither of these extremes are good for your immune health.
  • Tummy problems: If good and bad bacteria in your stomach become unbalanced, it can cause your immune system to go into overdrive. This in turn can lead to diarrhoea, constipation and gas.

What you can do to combat a weakened immune system

Even if you have noticed any of the above signs of weakened immunity, it’s not all doom and gloom. If you are wondering how to increase immunity, there are some simple steps you can take to help your weakened immune system.5 Start forming good immune health habits now by following a few simple rules below!

  • To avoid infections, wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water, or using an alcohol-based gel. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet containing lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. This will help provide your body with vitamins and minerals needed for healthy immune function. You can also take a vitamin and mineral supplement like Berocca Immune Daily Defence that can help you restore healthy micronutrient levels in your body.6
  • Exercise regularly to reduce stress and improve circulation, which are both important factors for healthy immune function .
  • Get quality sleep. Give yourself 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Reduce stress: try to incorporate relaxation practices such as meditation or yoga.


  1. Morey JN, Boggero IA, Scott AB, Segerstrom SC, Current Directions in stress and Human Immune Function, Curr Opin Psychol. 2015 Oct 1; 5: 13–17.
  2. Natelson BH, Haghighi MH, Ponzio NM, Evidence for the Presence of Immune Dysfunction in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2002 Jul; 9(4): 747–752.
  3. Andersen CJ, Murphy KE, Fernandez ML, Impact of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome on Immunity, ADVANCES IN NUTRITION, Volume 7, Issue 1, January 2016, Pages 66–75,
  5. How to prevent infections. Harvard Medical School, 2016. (Accessed 10/02/2020, at
  6. Gombart AF, Pierre A, Maggini S. A Review of Micronutrients and the Immune System-Working in Harmony to Reduce the Risk of Infection. Nutrients 2020;12.
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