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Beat coughs and colds this winter. Our guide by Dr Jenna Macciochi shares the latest thinking on supporting your immune system

Deal with stress

The factors that affect our immune system can be surprising and not always obvious. For example, the impact of short-term stress on our immune system can often be beneficial. But frequent or long-term stress has been shown to directly suppress immune cell function. Immune cells have receptors for stress hormones, which directly influence their activity, making them less able to function. And longterm stress has been shown to elevate blood inflammatory markers, which leaves you with a lower capacity to fight off infections. Studies have shown decreased responses to vaccines in people who have chronic stress. Indirectly, stress may affect the immune system by encouraging negative behaviours and habits, for example lack of sleep and poor diet.

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About Healthy Magazine

Celebrate a more meaningful Christmas this year with our special Christmas issue of Healthy. Inside you'll find ways to enjoy the big day that are more conscious, stress-free and will make you feel happier. We have recipes for a vegetarian Christmas feast so delicious that everyone will want some! Our beauty section will get you looking your party best - naturally! Plus, how to spot if you're stressed, give up alcohol for a month, and ways to help you manage arthritis. Find out more in the brand new issue of Healthy!