This article was posted on Wednesday, Jul 01, 2020

A strong immune system starts with a healthy lifestyle. But it is also important to understand what weakens your immune system too and to avoid those things. Here are 12 healthy ways to a stronger immune system. 


The University of Illinois Medical School has shown conclusively that a high intake of soluble fiber boosts the immune system. Indeed, people with the highest intake of soluble fiber have the strongest immune systems – oats, nuts and seeds, psyllium, vegetables and pulses would be a start.

The colorful Mediterranean Diet is the CANCERactive diet of choice – the Rainbow Diet -because there is so much clear research to support it. It advocates eating whole foods with lots of natural fiber (think lentils, nuts, seeds, fresh vegetables), low but ’whole’ carbs, high levels of good fats (like olive oil; fish) and good amounts of foods with vibrant colors, which are linked to high levels of bioactive compounds such as Polyphenols and Anthocyanins.

More than 90 research studies have shown that the Rainbow Diet is actually a better diet for the prevention and treatment of all manner of chronic diseases like heart, diabetes, stress reduction and cancer than those recommended by Health Authorities! Research even shows it will help you live longer! Go to:

The Rainbow Diet also provides good levels of essential minerals, like potassium and magnesium (fundamental to controlling your body’s pH) while giving the body bioactive natural compounds like phenols, carotenoids, anthocyanins and sulforaphanes. Garlic, selenium, fish oils, carotenoids, salvestrols like resveratrol, the dark red anthocyanins of beetroot and cherries are all important. You can also look at our review on Epigenetics – how 60 or more natural compounds in fruits and vegetables have corrective benefits in cancer. It’s not surprising. A meta-analysis of 83 studies shows that eating more vegetables and more fruits increases the strength of your immune system.

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You can buy the Rainbow Diet book (and also Rainbow Recipes) at


Importantly, the diet also involves no “empty’ calories” – sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, processed or refined foods. 

A glucose-rich drink (for example, a Coca Cola, bought smoothie, ice cream, refined pasta) temporarily flattens the immune system for anything from 40 minutes to five hours! 

Secondly, reducing glucose and High Fructose Corn Syrup consumption greatly, also reduces your insulin levels and, in turn, inflammation in the body – really important when fighting cancer.

Sugar itself helps promote and cause cancer to grow. There are too many top hospitals and professors saying this from their research, for the myth that sugar doesn’t feed cancer to continue.

Go to:

Finally, sugar intake actually damages you in the longer-term.  2015 research in the American Journal of Public Health showed that a daily glucose rich fizzy soft drink damages your immune system AS MUCH AS SMOKING!! 

Please don’t just think this only refers to bought drinks. A coca Cola gives you 10.9 gm sugar per 100 ml. A home-made fruit juice gives you 10.3 gm per 100 ml.

  1.  TAKE EXERCISE where you get out of breath

Exercise produces hormones called endorphins, and these are powerful positive drugs inside your body. Exercise massively improves the immune system. It moves the lymph and dissolves visceral fat, both taking toxins away from cells. It oxygenates the blood, and endorphins neutralize the harmful hormones like Cortisol, the stress hormone, and Human Growth Hormone.

Research now clearly shows that LIGHT TO MODERATE DAILY EXERCISE is the aim – about 40 to 60 minutes a day, ideally early morning and, ideally, you need to get puffed/out of breath. If you can manage it. It improves survival rates of some cancer patients by 50 per cent. It does not have to be strenuous. But you have to do it. Movement is essential as you have no ’heart’ to pump the immune system for you. You have to do this for yourself. You don’t need to go for the ’burn’ or wear lycra; Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Yoga are a good place to start. You need to move your thoracic duct in your chest – so press ups and swimming breast stroke are great if you feel more energetic. 

  1. HEAL Ur GUT

The 60 year old theory that the immune system has two components is now known to be wide of the mark. Even today, inaccurate articles talk about –

     * the front line Innate Immune System – a slow, general but less-than perfect response to pathogens from birth – and,

     * the Adaptive Immune System – which develops over time as you are progressively infected, is home to the immune memory and makes B- and T-lymphocytes that form antibodies

We now know that the microbiome is crucial to a strong immune system. Elements of the Adaptive System respond to the volume, and the diversity, of the species and strains in the microbiome. 85% of your immune memory is stimulated in this way. Yet the microbiome is not even mentioned in the majority of articles on strengthening the immune system. 

The following deplete your microbiome and thus your Adaptive Immune System – drugs, Proton Pump Inhibitors and antibiotics; sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, lactose; infections (parasites, viruses, yeasts); and stress, smoking and alcohol, amongst other things.

Research has now shown your gut ’microbiome’ gets ill first, then you get ill. And you cannot get better until it gets better. But then it doesn’t just control your immune system; it MAKES certain compounds like B vitamins, melatonin and serotonin for mood, and short-chain esters which can control cholesterol levels and/or reduce chronic inflammation throughout the body. Without them, your body takes another battering. It  is imperative that you give yourself a HUG. Go to:


It seems that boosting the volume of the white cells AND getting them to recognize a rogue cell still isn’t enough. 2011 research showed that the first thing your T-cells do before they attack a rogue cell is pick up a vitamin D molecule to ’activate’ themselves. Without the vitamin D, your immune system cannot attack pathogens. This is one reason why vitamin D is so important. If you cannot get two to four hours in the sunshine a day, take Boston Medical School’s recommendation. Supplement with 5,000IUs a day if you have cancer; 2,000-3,000 if you do not.

Vitamin K plays some part in this binding process but this is not perfectly clear as yet. 

So, Vitamin D is crucial to a strong immune system. It is important to note however that taking drugs greatly reduces your plasma vitamin D levels and so you should increase you intake of sunshine or supplement.


As we age, our Thyroid weakens. This has many effects on our body. Sometimes the thyroid is just short of iodine – taking a little sea kelp can help.

When it does weaken, we lose the ability to convert Beta-carotenes into vitamin A. When we were young, it was always better to eat lots of beta-carotenes (red and yellow peppers, sweet potatoes, greens, carrots, apricots) and let your body make the vitamin A levels it needed. Too much vitamin A might have caused liver problems. But once we get past 50, this ceases to be the case.

Vitamin A strengthens cell membranes – it builds walls and can restrict a virus’ ability to attack a cell. Vitamin A is also anti-inflammatory; and it boosts immune system cells like macrophages, T-cells and NK cells.

Cod Liver Oil contains much higher levels of vitamin A than other fish oils. It also contains a little vitamin D.

Part Two Next Month…

Chris Woollams is the Founder of CANCERactive.  For more information, visit