Enhancing your immune system
Our immune system has a very important job of defending us from germs, viruses and bacteria, that can lead to infection and illness.
We can enhance our immune system by following a healthy lifestyle;
Limit alcohol intake
Maintain a healthy weight
Get 8 hours sleep a night
Eat a whole food diet that is high in fruit and vegetables
What we feed our bodies can have a direct impact on our health and a diet rich in natural, wholefoods that are as unadulterated as possible can assist in delivering the protective properties needed for a strong immune system.
Whole foods are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory actions.
Avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as; processed food, sugar, soft drinks, refined carbohydrates (white pasta and bread). Minimise or cut out alcohol, smoking, fast food, pollution and chemicals as they cause free radicals to be produced by the body in response to damage to the cells.
With a long history of traditional use as both a food and a medicine with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, garlic is terrific for strengthening our immune systems. It contains sulfuric compounds which help us fight off harmful bacteria, viruses and even fungi. It has been shown that those who take garlic supplements contract fewer colds than those who do not. Not to mention, when people who consume garlic do get a cold, their symptoms tend to go away much faster.
Dark leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach and silverbeet are key to health, they have high levels of vitamin C and folate which is crucial for healthy skin function. Greens help to produce immune cells in our guts, which then protect the body from bad bacteria in the intestine. These immune cells also help to fight inflammation and obesity.
Citrus are known to be packed with vitamin C. Did you know that just one orange contains nearly 100% of the recommended dietary intake of vitamin C?
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to support immune function. Vitamin C is water soluble and as the body does not produce it we need to obtain sufficient levels from our diets.
Berries are high in anthocyanins, they give them the purple, blue and red colours and antioxidant ability. They are high in phytonutrients and have anti-inflammatory actions.
Packed with minerals, antioxidants, vitamins C, D and B and bioactive compounds called beta-glucans. Include a few varieties in your diet, such as shitake, oyster, swiss browns and maitake to reap maximum benefits.
Other foods to consume are almonds, ginger, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, capsicums, kiwi fruit, turmeric, sunflower seeds, carrots, paw paw, apricots, mango, oily fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, sweet potatoes, green tea and kefir.