As Autumn approaches, a new report has revealed that:

“Nearly three quarters (69%) of the nation reportedly don’t think they have strong immunity” 



The Actimel Immunity Report, based on the behaviours of 2,000 people, has been released in a bid to encourage the nation to support their immunity by making small, positive changes.

Working with leading Immunologist, Dr Jenna Macciochi, PhD, fortified yogurt drink, Actimel analysed several different lifestyle factors that directly affect immunity - including diet, physical activity, stress levels, alcohol intake - and self-reported wellness to assess their estimated impact on immunity.

The research found that since the pandemic, over a third of Brits have become more conscious of making positive health choices, yet in the summer, over one in five relax their routines and let their health and wellness habits slip. Regularly forgetting to eat breakfast, not taking vitamins, supplements, or fortified products, whilst also failing to exercise regularly and also changing sleeping patterns during the warmer months.

Despite this, two in five reported that they are in good routines regarding exercise, diet and sleep, they feel their overall health is improved. However, at the same time admitting they don’t know the best steps to take to support their immunity.  

The change in season gives us impetus to build immunity, as nearly half of us believe the onset of the autumn weather has a negative impact on their health, many fear that there are more germs on the commute, parents worry they are going to get sick as their children return to school.

As a result, they think that making positive lifestyle changes to help safeguard our health and ensure a well-functioning immune system is important. The most popular health-based behaviour changes that include eating healthier foods, exercising more, and getting more sleep – all of which particularly appeal to adults within the 35–44 year age group. Eating or drinking products intended to improve immunity and taking vitamins was also high on the agenda.

Nationally, over three-quarters of Brits try to follow the NHS recommended healthy balanced diet*, with some areas most likely to follow it, and some less likely to do so.

A number of people only ate fruit or vegetables once a week, while many more indulged in a sweet treat multiple times a week and regularly snacking at night. Worryingly many of us have at least five to six processed meals every week, particularly those living in the North East and Yorkshire.

When it comes to alcohol, many exceed the recommended limits especially in the London and the South East.

Sleep levels faired a bit better as three in five of us managed to achieve roughly the right amount of sleep, but the remaining adults report under-sleeping and are therefore find themselves at higher risk for infections and illness.

Tom Hickton, Marketing Director at Actimel, adds, “Our research shows that people across the UK want to give their immune systems some support as the seasons change, but aren’t sure how to do so. Diet is a great place to start – we have seen that the nation isn’t getting their daily intake of vitamins D (30%) and B6 (35%) needed for immune support, so simply adding a fortified yogurt drink such as Actimel into your routine is a quick and easy way to help support immunity resilience.” 

Listen to what our two experts have to say when it come to what we should do to keep healthy and build our immunity up over the autumn and winter periods 

Angellica Bell Tips

Healthy & Hearty Breakfast 

It’s important for me to start the day with a healthy and filling breakfast, supporting my energy levels as I power through a busy day. My go-tos are porridge with flax seeds and berries, or scrambled eggs on toast – both are classics for a reason, and perfect for the colder weather as we move into Autumn / Winter.

Immune Supporting Shot

A shot of Actimel is another key part of my morning routine, containing vitamins D and B6 to help support the immune system*, it leaves me feeling ready to take on the day. My favourite flavours are coconut and multifruit, a delicious blend of pineapple, peach, orange, and strawberry.

Regular Exercise

I aim to exercise up to four times per week, doing a mix of weights, running, cycling and squash. My favourite feel good exercise is running outdoors, it’s so important to get fresh-air, and I love the endorphin rush it gives me – even as the weather gets colder. To stay motivated, variety is key, so I also like to mix it up by combining solo-exercise alongside fitness classes with friends. Another top tip is to go early, it makes sure I don’t run out of time, while setting me up for the day ahead.

Balanced Dinner

After cooking a balanced dinner of protein and veg – I love sweet potato as it’s so versatile! – I relax into the evening by chatting with my family or listening to music as I prep for tomorrow.

Optimising Sleep

Sleep is vital for feeling good and supporting immunity, so I aim to head to bed at 7:30pm three times a week. Early I know but settling into bed curled up with a good book really works wonders to winddown for a restful night’s sleep. I aim for around 8-9h a night to feel fresh and ready to take on the day.

Dr. Jenna Macciochi Tips

Prioritise sleep. Enough sleep, preferably 7 to 9 hours, is vital to supporting your immunity, while sleep deprivation has been shown to suppress the immune function

My solution – when it’s cold and wintry outside, who doesn’t want to be tucked up warm in bed? Try setting a bedtime and sticking to it, and then get up at the same time each morning too. And yes, I do mean even on weekends. Your sleep quality and quantity will improve, and you’ll be supporting your immune system too.

Supplement sensibly. While many immune-supportive nutrients can come from eating a balanced diet, some people benefit from supplements, and most of us could do with a regular dose of Vitamin D, especially through the dark winter months.

My solution – Actimel fortified yoghurt drink, of course! It’s small but mighty and available in a selection of fat-free, added-sugar free, dairy-free, flavoursome varieties*

Eat the rainbow. While I encourage everyone to reach for the sky, in this instance I simply mean eat lots of different coloured fruits and vegetables every day! Fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals and fibre. By eating a variety every day (at least 5 portions) you can help support your overall health and wellbeing.

My solution – truly, this is a game changer. Chop fruit up into bite-sized pieces and place on a plate or in a bowl. It’s so much more snackable. I’ve yet to meet anyone who would turn down a segmented orange, but I’d estimate at least half of them wouldn’t pick up an orange from a fruit bowl. 

Move more. Physical activity really is important, supporting the immune function and helping protect against illness. Ideally, we should all be doing a mix of cardio and strength-building exercises and preferably avoid extended periods of sitting down. 

My solution – If you’re not a gym fan or prefer to avoid organised sports, try reframing ‘exercise’ as just ‘movement’. Get up and about. Take the stairs. Hop off the bus a stop early. Practise your tree pose while you wait for the kettle to boil. Every movement matters!

Manage stress. Master your stress to support your immunity. Over an extended period, stress interferes with your immune system's regular activity, affecting its ability to help support your health.

My solution: To keep on top of your stress, try these tips. In the moment, it can be useful to have a few real-time tools to cope with stress.  Deep breathing (for example box breathing or an extended exhale), going for a walk or stepping away from your computer to take in what's called a 'panoramic gaze' can be helpful.  Future-proofing stress tools include practising mindfulness, a regular meditation practice, making time for nature and physical activity. 

Check out how you are comparing to the report in this informative and interesting look at our nations imunity health CLICK HERE