Eat a Diet Rich in Immune System Vitamins
Eating plenty of fresh whole foods high in the following nutrients will boost your immune system:
- Zinc is your best bet – Good quality lean red meat, chicken, fish, dairy foods, eggs, legumes and sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Vitamin C – Citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, strawberries, broccoli, cabbage and parsley
- Garlic – heat can destroy some of its immunity properties so add it raw to a salad dressing or add it in d the last part of cooking
Get your vitamins from Food, not supplements
Obtain your nutrients instead from a healthy diet full of good quality fresh food. this will give you the correct quotas of nutrients in the right balance. If you take supplements, you might consume too much of one vitamin or mineral which can throw other vitamin absorption out of kilt. Only take a supplement if you have a known deficiency or disease, or you are avoiding a food group for a specific reason and can’t obtain that vitamin or mineral through other foods. But first you should consult a nutritionist, dietician or your GP.
Gut Health and Immunity
Many studies show the connection between immunity and gastrointestinal function. Poor diet or intense and prolonged exercise can cause increased damage to the gut. Avoid foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, processed or packaged foods, and gluten which can cause inflammation in the gut lining. Instead stick to a diet full of fresh fruit, lots of vegetables, good quality protein and dairy and carbs in the form of wholegrain. By avoiding processed carbs such as bread, pasta and even rice, and sticking to unprocessed carbs you can preserve your gut lining. Good quality whole grains such as quinoa, bulgur, buckwheat, chia, amaranth, oats and spelt are a much better choice.
For athletes – good quality protein intake during recovery, especially in the form of the amino acid glutamine is recommended. Glutamine is a fuel source for immune fighting cells and becomes depleted during intense prolonged exercise. A fall in intestinal glutamine levels can lead to bacteria and other toxins making it across the intestinal membrane which can cause immune system failure. Foods high in glutamine include fish, legumes, raw cabbage, raw beetroot and other meats. Heat during cooking can destroy Glutamine. Other sources are protein recovery powders including glutamine.
The Benefits Of Antioxidants For Immunity
A diet rich in antioxidants can counter the elevated levels of free radicals produced from stress, poor diet, intense exercise, too much alcohol, pollution and many other external sources. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals and convert them into unreactive substances, so they can’t damage our body’s cells. The nutrient rich properties of foods high in antioxidants, such as fruit and vegetables, can also have anti-inflammatory effects.
Eat the rainbow, lots of bright and colourful foods, in the freshest form possible!