Supporting your immune system through nutrition
Supporting our immune system and keeping our body in tip-top illness-fighting form is of the utmost importance. And it’s all about balance! Everybody loves a ‘cheat day’ and we shouldn’t deny ourselves our favourite treats – just remember moderation is key! Making healthy lifestyle choices by eating nutritious foods and getting plenty of exercise and sleep are the most important ways to boost and maintain a strong immune system.
Get feeling your absolute best at home by giving these key foods, vitamins, and wellbeing tips a try:
Vitamin A, C, Zinc and Iron are fundamental nutrients when it comes to supporting your immune system. They help increase the production of white blood cells and are a great antioxidant. Our favourite nutrient-rich foods?
- Vitamin C
Get your fruit bowl and veg drawer well stocked with kiwi, strawberries, raspberries and brightly coloured vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and dark green vegetables.
- Vitamin A
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in maintaining vision, body growth, immune function and reproductive health. So next time you are in the supermarket, be sure to stock up on eggs, milk, carrots, sweet potato, squash, dark green leafy vegetables and spinach.
Zinc is an essential mineral that your body does not make on its own, so it’s important to get plenty into your diet. Zinc is naturally found in a wide variety of foods, such as; meat, shellfish, pumpkin, sesame and hemp seeds, cashews, pine nuts, eggs, whole grains kale, mushrooms and dark chocolate or cacao…Woohoo!
Iron is an essential nutrient, it helps to transport oxygen throughout the body. Eggs, cashews, almonds, red meat, pumpkin & sunflower seeds, tofu or tempeh, lentils, beans, chickpeas, brown rice and quinoa are all a great source of iron.
Smoothies are such a simple and tasty way to get vitamins and minerals from whole fruit and vegetables with the fibre included, to slow the absorption of the sugar. Some fruit, vegetables and herbs are particularly high in polyphenols - plant compounds which have various health benefits, including immune balancing. Apples, oranges, grapefruit, berries, spinach, carrots and ginger are particularly flavoursome ingredients!
Time to try turmeric
This super herb (from the ginger family), is an antioxidant, immune balancing, anti-inflammatory, that also improves fat digestion and supports liver detoxification! What’s not to like? Don’t forget to add a pinch of black pepper when cooking with turmeric to help with absorption.
The sunshine vitamin
Grab your sunglass and head into the garden – it’s time to soak up those rays! Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. These minerals are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. Our immune system is also massively dependent on vitamin D metabolism because we have vitamin D receptors on various immune cells. Food sources include eggs, mushrooms and fish.
Everything in moderation
It’s important not to overindulge too often. Eating too much processed foods, which usually contain high omega 6 and sugar, can be pro-inflammatory. A better diet can also help with your sleep and we all know how important good sleep is.