6 Foods You Should Be Eating Now To Boost Your Immune System
They say that 80% of your immune system is in your gut, so it makes sense to pay close attention to your digestive system. Look out for signs of discomfort, bloating, flatulence, and irregular bowel movements, as they are a clear sign that something’s not just right. Think about it, if your digestion is impaired then you may not be absorbing all of the nutrients needed to support your immune system and protect you against getting a cold or the flu.
One of the main ways your gut can become impaired is down to stress.
Incorporating some relaxation tips and keeping an eye on the stress levels, particularly during the colder seasons, is one of the best ways to support the body, the gut, and the immune system.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to trauma from an invader such as an infection or injury which damages tissues. It’s is necessary for survival, but it becomes damaging when it turns chronic: continuing for weeks, months or indefinitely. Conditions associated with inflammation are far from just the common cold and flu and can lead to the development of chronic diseases such as autoimmune conditions, arthritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and so on. So, as you can see, having a strong immune system can play a large role in improving overall health and wellness.
There are some simple foods that you can incorporate into your diet that can have a beneficial impact on both the immune system and the gut.
Here are the top 6 foods to boost your immune system today:
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a healthy immune system is ensuring sufficient gut bacteria. Garlic is an antimicrobial and can help fight off some of the microbes that are not so friendly in our gut. Once we get those friendly bacteria into our gut we want to continue to feed them by adding further pre and probiotic foods into the system such as Homemade yogurt, Kefir, saukraut, and prebiotics such as artichokes, asparagus, leeks, onions, and garlic. These can all play a huge role in feeding our friendly bacteria and helping them flourish. PS: Add garlic at the end of your dish to minimize the effects of cooking and to enhance their beneficial properties eat them as close to their natural state as possible.
Known for its superpowers, turmeric can help reduce pro-inflammatory effect (i.e. foods such as saturated fats and sugar that create inflammation in the body).
I consider ginger the Queen of anti-inflammatory foods and I add it to lots of meals such as curry’s, shakes, stir-fries, sauces, and even tea. Add it to your meals in many different ways, and reap the benefits of its anti-inflammatory powers. It has also been said to be beneficial for nausea.
Shiitake mushrooms, in particular, have beneficial properties for supporting the immune system, such as increasing the production of white blood cells. Many different types of mushrooms contain vitamin D, which is key to improving the immune system. Vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to many inflammatory conditions, and while we cannot get a lot of it through food, getting out in the sun as much as possible, yes even during the winter, can have a profound effect on the body, the immune system, gut, and mental health.
Chillies can help open the nasal passage if we are feeling a bit banged up. Adding a lot of curries and dahls to your menu during the winter as an easy way to get these in. They are also full of healthy antioxidants and beta carotene, which is found in lots of orange and dark green vegetables. Getting lots of color into your diet can be hugely beneficial for your immune system.
Ensuring to consume Omega 3 fats through foods such as tuna, herring, salmon and prawns can help to support the cell membranes and can have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Prawns are also packed full of zinc and selenium which are beneficial for supporting those white blood cells and the repair of damaged cells and tissues.
There are loads more foods that will do wonders for your immune system. For example, radishes have been known to support the lungs, sweet potato is beneficial for supporting our white blood cell count, green leafy vegetables are packed full of nutrients especially vitamin C. The list is long, but one simple thing you can do is to ensure you get a variety of colored vegetables into your diet, along with some of the spices mentioned above, add some fish and you will do well to support your immune system.
Looking for a way to boost your mood? Join Elysia’s Good Mood Food programme now!
Elysia Doody is a Functional Nutritionist & Exercise Coach specialising in female health and wellness.
She’s embraced Functional Medicine to address her health concerns, and is now helping as many women as possible in a similar position. Taking everything she’s learned through education, her own health, and working with clients, she’s keen to share it all through online programmes.
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