The Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind at the moment and I know that everyone is taking all the precautions they can in order not to contract the virus as well as to not spread it. Unfortunately it is unknown what is ahead of us, so I thought I would put together for those of you reading this, what you can do through lifestyle and nutrition to naturally boost your immune system, so if you do get sick your body is armed with what it needs to support you.
Not only will these tools support you during this health problem, but it will be a great way to strengthen your immune system as we move towards winter and the flu season.
So, what can we do:
GUT HEALTH IS KEY
80% of our immune cells lie in our gut.
In order for these cells to be functioning optimally, we must look out for what we put into it as it has an entire ecosystem of bacteria living within it that are vitally important to our everyday health. If it is out of balance, then so are we…
TOP GUT TO DO’S:
1. Probiotic Foods
These are foods that contain beneficial bacteria, and by eating a variety of these foods we provide a wide variety of good bacteria that is supportive to our digestive health.
These foods are:
2. Prebiotic Foods
Our bacteria live in our intestines and colon.
Here is how it works….
After we chew and swallow our food the stomach is the first stop.
It gets broken down by our stomach acid, which kills unwanted bacteria and parasites etc. It is then sent onto our small intestines where most of our nutrients are absorbed. Our food will then pass to the large intestine, which is where large fibres left from our food get digested by our bacteria – in fact this is what they live and thrive on!
So, when we talk about prebiotic foods, this is the food that will leave fibres and avoid being broken down in the stomach, making it all the way to the large intestine to feed the bacteria.
These foods are:
TOP NUTRIENTS & HOW TO FIND THEM NATURALLY
An antioxidant, fighting free radicals and protecting our cells against viral attack.
Red and yellow capsicum, kiwi fruit, oranges, steamed broccoli, cooked cauliflower, mango, brussel sprouts, leafy greens (spinach, rocket, bok choy, kale etc.), strawberries, raspberries, blueberries.
Enhances our immune system’s response to bacterial and viral infections.
The best source is sunlight!
Food sources are – canned salmon, sardines, mackerel, tinned tuna, eggs.
Maintains the health of our epithelial cells in the body – these are cells on the outside of our body features like skin, blood vessels, urinary tract or organs – plus places like inside our nostrils, mouth etc.
Best sources are animal based – organs such as liver, red meat and eggs, also fish, milk, butter and eggs.
Beta Carotene converts to Vitamin A – this is found in carrots, sweet potato, spinach, mango, pumpkin, red capsicum, rockmelon, tomato, broccoli and more.
Important for the optimal development and function of all cells, boulstering our immune system.
Meat, liver, eggs and seafood (esp. oysters and shellfish).
Amaranth seeds, cashews, chickpeas, lentils, beans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, porridge, tahini, peanut butter.
Studies have shown that regular moderate exercise decreases the incidences of infections such as our common cold and many other diseases such as those of the upper respiratory tract.
It seems to promote changes within cells such as neutrophils, macrophages and lymphocytes which are part of our body’s defence team. Exercise seems to boost their response to pathogens and disease (Rosa Neto et al. 2011). Supporting us when we need them most!
Exercising outdoors is a great way to relax as well as boosting our vitamin D!!
Sleep and our circadian rhythm are important factors in boosting our immune system.
It is a time when our body is fasting, allowing our digestive system to rest and cortisol levels to reduce, providing the opportunity for a time of repair to occur with-in the body.
In regard to our immune system, it is also a time when our infection and disease fighting cells get a chance to proliferate and strengthen.
What comes out of this discussion is that as well-balanced diet that incorporates a variety of:
5 TOP TIPS
Besedovsky, L., Lange, T., & Born. J. (2012). Sleep and immune function. European Journal of Physiology, 463, 121-137.
Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2015). Herbs and natural supplements vol 2. (4thed). Sydney: Elsevier
Kouris, A. (2011). Food sources of nutrients. Sydney: Elsevier
Rosa Neto, J, C et al. (2011). Importance of exercise immunology in health promotion. Amino Acids 41, 1165-1172.