Immune supporting foods
What’s your recipe for keeping your immune system healthy as possible right now?
My clients have been requesting ideas of things they can do to help support their immune systems at this time. Here are my top 7 (updated) immune support tips staying as healthy as possible:
Eat ‘the rainbow’ – how does this help?
Brightly coloured vegetables contain Vitamins A, C & E and they may support your immune system – often better than many supplements. Try including Vitamin C rich foods such as peppers, broccoli, kale, parsley, pineapple, mango, blackcurrants and honeydew melon.
Eat fermented foods
Try a daily dose of one of these fermented foods to feed the gut. The gut is where 70-80% of our immune system lives. Look out for these foods in your local health food shops – kefir, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut. Where can you find fermented foods in Letchworth? Miss Green Fingers, vegan cafe and shop ‘Vutie Beets’ and of course – Fairhaven Wholefoods.
Don’t ignore protein
Protein is essential to fight off infections and as a raw ingredient is required to make immune cells and antibodies. Eat 3 palm sized portions daily. That can include meat, fish, dairy products, legumes – beans and lentils, and also nuts and seeds.
Vitamin K Foods
Research from a study in Holland has shown that Vitamin K foods may be extra important in helping us fight the coronavirus* so you could include foods such as Dutch Gouda, beef liver, pork chops, dark chicken meat and green leafy vegetables such as pak choi, cooked kale, asparagus, and sauerkraut. This Vitamin K advice *does not* apply to anyone taking blood thinning medication such as and similar to Warfarin. Please ask your pharmacist or GP if you’re unsure . This is only one, small study – so there is no need to go overboard on the cheese just yet 🙂
Don’t go overboard on the white stuff!
I don’t just mean biscuits, crisps and cakes – though these are not ideal in large portions either. But be sure to make carbohydrates no more than about a quarter of your plate. Carbs = pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, quinoa, cous cous, etc.. This way you won’t have to endure a sugar rollercoaster crash where you feel worse afterwards and seek another sugary ‘hit.’ Plus – you will be less likely to pile on weight. If you moderate your carbohydrate intake you may aid your blood sugar levels – which in turn its thought – may make people less susceptible to the virus.**
Don’t overdo alcohol
Alcohol may prevent parts of your immune system from communicating with another, which isn’t ideal when there’s a virus lurking… Ideally, savour your favourite wine or alcoholic drink with a meal and remember to have several alcohol free days each week.
Vitamin D rich foods and safe tanning
Oily fish such as WILD salmon – contain plenty of Vitamin D, as do sardines, mackerel, tuna and beef liver. Vitamin D has been shown to be critical for respiratory health*** (in fact the UK government has just decided to look into this association more closely according to The Guardian). Our skin makes Vitamin D when the sun is shining between March and October in the UK: More safe tanning / Vitamin D in my blog post.
Obviously, none of this negates the importance of social distancing, mask wearing or great handwashing technique!
If you or someone you know needs help in regaining some sort of healthy nutritional balance, I can devise a suitable nutritional therapy plan for you where we put practical, realistic steps in to support your immune system and your general health.
*Source : Guardian: Vitamin K could help fight coronavirus study
**Source: The Conversation: ‘Blood sugar levels may influence vulnerability to coronavirus, and controlling them through conventional means might be protective’
*** Source: Clinical & Experimental Immunology: Vitamin D & respiratory Health