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Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Updated: Jan 23

A woman enjoying her plate of salad

It's time to prioritise the immune system. Each day, our bodies are confronted with thousands of threats (including viruses, bacteria, pollutants, toxins, and parasites) that can leave us vulnerable if our immune system is not militant! In winter, our bodies must be even better armed against a host of circulating viruses.

When it comes to maintaining the vigour of natural defences and protecting against infection, food plays a major role; it provides essential vitamins and minerals for defending the body and promotes microbiota balance. Not only does the bacteria in our intestines teach the body to recognise an infectious agent more rapidly, but a balanced microbiota also prevents excessive inflammation. Favouring a diet rich in micronutrients, which provide vitamins and trace elements, is therefore essential for the immune system. Combined with other lifestyle factors, this can help you stay healthy and energetic all year round.

There are some very simple additions and subtractions you can integrate into your diet to support healthy immunity and set you up for success in the cooler months. Here are some dietary adjustments to consider for optimal immune health.

Eat The Rainbow

Eat multiple servings of colourful fruits and vegetables high in vitamins C, A, and phytonutrients to support your immune system. Two servings of fruit and eight servings of veggies are ideal. Choose colourful and cruciferous green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, capsicum, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.

Simultaneously, try to cut down on sugar and refined starches: Studies have shown these not only suppress your immune system but also disrupt the gut which plays a key role in keeping your immune system in check.

Eat Adequate Protein

Protein is critical for immune function. Aim to eat approximately half your body weight in grams of protein daily. Ideally, seek out clean organic animal or plant protein.

Add Spices

To boost your immune system, try to add garlic, onion, ginger and spices to your meals. This is because garlic and onions have great antimicrobial properties and are delicious and affordable additions to your day. Additionally, spices like turmeric and oregano are anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. These are easy (and tasty!) to add to everyday meals

Plenty Of Fluids

Consuming plenty of quality fluids, especially warm ones, helps support the immune system. Of course, water is key here, as it is essential for keeping your blood pumping, which is part of your immune function. According to the University of California, Irvine, water assists in transporting nutrients throughout your body, including essential ones for fighting off infections. Proper hydration also keeps all your organs functioning properly, and when your body is running efficiently - including your immune system - you're less likely to get sick.

Apart from water, focus on broths (bone both is great!), nutritious soups and herbal teas like ginger and turmeric. Try to avoid concentrated juices and sugary drinks as they will suppress your immune system.

Immunity Booster: Lifestyle Upgrades

A photo of different kinds of raw healthy foods

A great immune system gives you a wonderful advantage against viruses and any other illnesses that could potentially compromise your health in the colder months. In addition to dietary adjustments, here are some other lifestyle upgrades you can consider for optimal immune health.

Get Sufficient Sleep

When you sleep you heal. Without adequate sleep, optimal immune function is almost impossible. It's time to head to bed earlier, turn off those devices at least an hour before bed and practice your relaxing pre-sleep rituals like meditation, a bath and deep breathing. If you need assistance with sleep, please seek help, there are many things holistic health can do to help improve sleep for you.

Regular Exercise

Ideally, try to get 30-45 minutes of mild to moderate exercise most days to help boost the immune system. If you're short on time, there are great 7-minute workout apps available too. It is also advantageous to go for a walk or a jog in the sunshine, as it will boost your Vitamin D levels which is also great for your immunity.

Eat Fermented Foods

Health begins in the gut, and fermented foods help feed all the good bacteria in your GI tract to support your immune system. Try foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, yogurt and kefir.

Reduce Stress

Increased levels of stress increase susceptibility to viral infections. Now is the time to learn or double down on your meditation practice, do yoga, take warm baths with Epsom salts and essential oils, and practice deep breathing.

Kinesiology Techniques

There are many kinesiology techniques that can assist with all of the above, from clearing blocks around exercise and rebalancing sleep hormones to stress-reducing exercises.

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are” ~ G.K. Chesterton

If you'd like more nutrition or general immunity advice, get in touch with Ease Wellness and we can set up an information session. Schedule a Kinesiology and Coaching session with Katherine Anderson.

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