What to eat (and drink) for Immune Health
It’s time to work on keeping our number one defence system fit – our immune system. Stress, alcohol, medications, what you eat, your environment, and lack of sleep can directly affect how your immune system functions. Adopting some simple prevention strategies can help you avoid a cold or flu and provide you with optimal health and wellbeing this Autumn & Winter.
I always advocate a wholefoods diet as a starting point, so in addition here are some specific strategies to help you feel your best during these colder months.
The healing properties of bone broth are not a hype. Glycine, which helps form collagen and gelatin are found in abundance in bone broth, and it is these key constituents that make slow cooked chicken soup a tried and tested remedy for colds & flus. Glycine is an amino acid found in high concentrations in your skin and connective tissues and is the key amino acid that forms collagen & gelatin. It also helps to lower inflammation and free radical damage. It has the ability to rebuild and maintain tissue in the GI tract – and we know just about all of our immune system lives in the gut (at least 70%). So we need to keep this healthy, in order to keep out pathogens amd starve off disease.
I recommend sipping on a cup of bone broth daily, and incorporating it into home cooked meals in the place of stock.
An easy way to get gelatin into kids is to make fruit gummies (see recipes).
Pineapples, Oranges and Kiwi’s
These fruits contain high levels of Vitamin C, the antioxidant that helps our immune system function, and strengthens our resistance to infection. Our bodies Vitamin C levels are rapidly used up during times of stress, illness, and infection so we need to keep these levels topped up! Decreased levels lead to increased risk of infection.
Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric
These foods have powerful anti-viral and have antibiotic properties. Start adding them to your cooking if you are not already. Ginger and turmeric can be readily added to curries.
Sunshine – Vitamin D
We still need our daily dose of vitamin D, so that our immune system can function at its best. Make sure you get outside daily, and get your kids playing outside for at least 45 minutes each day this winter.
Slow cooked meals
Adequate iron is critical to healthy immune function – especially in kids. Their iron needs are HUGE. Zinc also plays an important function in immune responses, so is key to staying healthy and healing quickly. Both these minerals are found in abundance in red meat, so slow cook organic red meat this winter – add some bone broth and serve with greens & orange kumera (high in vitamin A) for the perfect immune healthy meal.
Echinacea, Andrographis, Eyebright, Thyme, Pelargonium
These herbs can be taken under supervision of your health care practitioner. They have powerful immune boosting properties, antibacterial, antiviral and are a great natural alternative when you and your family become sick this winter. For specific advice, please get in contact. Quality and dosing of these herbs is important.
Ditch the sugar
It decreases immune response and reduces white blood cell (WBC) count.