With the world in the grip of a new virus scare finding ways to boost our immune system is probably on most peoples minds, but what’s the best way to do this? Having a balanced diet, full of fruit, veggies, good proteins, fats, plenty of fibre and water so our body gets good nutrients is vital.
Food sources of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals include –
- Vit A – Orange and yellow fruits and veggie such as carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, oranges and lemons, plus dark green leafy veg and eggs
- Vit C – Red peppers, oranges, broccoli, dark green leafy veggies and tomatoes
- Vit D – Eggs, green leafy veggies, fortified cereals and dairy (plus dairy alternatives) oily fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel
- Vit E – Nuts ( almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts) seeds, dark green leafy veg and fortified foods like cereals
- Vit K – Dark green leafy veg, fish, meat and eggs plus Brussels sprouts
- B Vits – Mushrooms, spinach, legumes (lentils, chickpeas and beans) seeds and nuts, eggs and whole-grains
- Zinc – Whole-grains, legumes, shellfish, eggs nuts and seeds
- Iron – Lean meats (think chicken and turkey) and seafood plus dark green leafy veg and beans
Good gut health, the key to boosting your immune system
Paying attention to our gut health is also important as it makes up 70% of our immune system, gut bacteria help produce certain vitamins (B-vits and Vit-K) and vitamins are absorbed through our small intestines
Adding good bacteria through fermented foods such as kefir (fermented milk, I know it sounds pretty awful but you can get flavoured ones and add to smoothies) but also with –
- pickled food like sauerkraut
- a supplement can help boost good gut bacteria
- Bio yoghurts
You also need to make sure you eat enough fibre as bacteria thrive in it, having good transit through the intestines not only makes a lovely home for your bacteria but also reduces the risk of colon and bowel cancers. Fibre acts as a brush sweeping your intestines clean and it will also keep you feeling full so can aid weight control.
Fibre-rich foods include –
- Whole-grains such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats
- Legumes such as lentils and beans
- Nuts and Seeds
- Veggies such as broccoli, carrots (scrub rather than peel if possible) potatoes with the skin
- Fruits such as berries, apples and pears (with skin)
Being active also plays its part, getting outside for a brisk walk (weather permitting)
Or a bike ride, going for a swim or having fun at a Zumba class
All boost our immune system and help de-stress us.
Looking after your gut is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health
So start making changes today
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