Supporting our immune system and keeping our body in tip-top illness-fighting form is of the utmost importance. And guess what? It’s all about balance!
Getting a healthy balanced diet helps us stay at a healthy weight, helps reduce the risks of developing illnesses, and eating the right food provides us with enough energy to stay fit, active and helps us enjoy life to the full.
We all love a ‘cheat day’ and 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 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 draw well stocked with kiwis, oranges, 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.
Stop skipping breakfast
Breakfast is often called ‘the most important meal of the day’, and for good reason. Breakfast helps to replenish your supplies of glucose, boosting energy levels, and helping you to feel more alert. Without morning fuel you’re running on empty - no wonder you’re having trouble focusing! Ideally, eating within two hours of waking up is recommended, improving memory, concentration levels, and mood.
Not a breakfast person? We have one word for you… Smoothies! Smoothies are such a simple and tasty way to get vitamins and minerals into your diet. Some fruit, vegetables and herbs are particularly high in polyphenols - plant compounds that have various health benefits, including immune balancing. Our favourite ingredients? Grapefruit, berries, and ginger!
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
Wondering why you’re feeling sluggish today? Have you been outside yet? Exactly. Natural light boosts your body's vitamin D storage and increases serotonin levels in the brain. It also helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet - minerals that are important for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. So, whatever the weather, pull on your woollies and get outdoors.
When it comes to our immune system, Vitamin D is essential! During the winter months, we don’t get enough of the sunshine vitamin, so should regularly eat Vitamin D-rich foods such as eggs, oily fish, mushrooms, and red meat.
We don’t drink nearly half as much water as our bodies need, and in the winter, we tend to drink even less! Staying hydrated is crucial to maintaining the healthy function of every system in our bodies - from the heart to the brain. But did you know, hydration can also soothe headaches, moodiness, and lethargy? So, what are you waiting for? Turn on the tap and get drinking!
Everything in moderation
We all have our vices, whether that’s a stack of chocolate-covered pancakes, or a takeaway pizza with all the toppings. And there’s nothing wrong with enjoying these delicious desserts and sensational snacks. Just ensure that you are drinking and eating responsibly. Eating too much processed foods, which usually contain high omega 6 and sugar, can be pro-inflammatory. Too much alcohol can disrupt our sleep patterns, and we need a restful night’s sleep for our body to heal and repair.
Take care of yourself
Remember, our body and our mind are connected. Eat nutritional food, drink more water, get active, and catch up on sleep. Notice which healthy actions lift your mood and do more of them.