Food & Nutrients to Boost Immunity
With winter just around the corner, now is the time to start stocking up the pantry with immune boosting foods. Be prepared early and reduce the risk of yourself or the family getting sick over winter. Immune boosting foods will also help to speed up recovery if illness does strike you down. Here are our top Naturopathic tips to protect you this cold and flu season!
Vitamin D – Vitamin D is important for immune regulation. Our vitamin D stores drop over winter, meaning it’s even more essential to make sure your levels are sufficient before the cold and flu season kicks in.
Probiotics – Probiotics have a great influence on our immune system and how well it responds. They are particularly beneficial when it comes to allergies.
Essential Fatty Acids – Zinc is an essential co-factor for immune dependent responses, and it also influences the function of the immune system.
Golden seal – Is one of nature’s top antibiotic herbs. It contains a constituent called ‘berberine’, which has the ability to destroy many different pathogens, viruses and bacteria, without all the nasty side-effects!
Thyme – Thyme is a powerful anti-microbial herb. Add it to your roast dinners, or chop up some fresh thyme and drink it as a tea for sore throats.
Calendula – Calendula stimulates and cleanses the lymphatic system. It’s boosts the immune response, due to lymphatic tissue containing high amounts of white blood cells.
Nutrient Dense Foods – Antioxidants and phytochemicals are the main power sources, supporting development and optimal function of the immune system. They sweep up oxidative damage caused by immune cells when fighting off infection. Foods rich in antioxidants include: Broccoli, berries, kale, carrots, purple cabbage, and red capsicum.
Wholefood diet – Wholefood’s are based upon being fresh, whole – food, that is as close to their natural state as possible. This ensures they contain as many nutrients as possible. Refined and processed foods have many of their nutrients stripped out of them during processing. Eating food in its whole state ensures that their nutrient content is in the correct ratio, providing you with many healthy benefits.
Protein – Adequate protein intake is essential for healthy functioning of the immune system. Good quality protein sources include; salmon, snapper, mackerel, grass fed meat, hormone free chicken, legumes, organic tofu and tempeh are all great protein sources.
Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, & Onion – Don’t underestimate the power of food to boost your immune system! These are the top four foods to add into your diet daily. Garlic is known as nature’s antibiotic! Consuming 1-2 cloves daily provides powerful anti-microbial actions. Each of these foods are great anti-inflammatory sources, and are full of phytochemicals.
Foods Compromising the Immune System
Sugar- Sugar is an immune suppressant. It affects the immune system by reducing the function of white blood cells. Many pathogens (including candida) thrive on sugar, therefore making it harder for the immune system to destroy the infection. Sugar replacements such as rice malt syrup, coconut nectar, a good quality maple syrup are all great alternatives to sugar.
Caffeine – Excessive intake of caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks) functions as a stressor in the body. It overstimulates the adrenal glands and cortisol secretion. Cortisol has a suppressant effect on the immune system, decreasing the ability to fight off infections naturally.