Supporting your body’s immunity naturally
Our body is truly amazing! The immune system in our body is designed to protect us against diseases and harmful pathogens. An interesting fact is that about 70% of our immune system is located in our gut. So, when we look at foods to support the immune function to fight illnesses, we are also looking at supporting our digestion.
Healthy gut for strong immunity
We can do so by listening to our bodies and by identifying the foods that make us feel lethargic and perhaps bloated. When this happens, the body is trying to tell us that something is not quite right. It is best to avoid the foods that our body doesn’t like as it may put a strain on our immune system. Here are 5 foods that can help support your immune system and boost your gut health at the same time.
5 FOODS TO BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
1. Probiotic-rich foods
Fermented foods such as natural yoghurt, unpasteurised sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir (water or milk), kombucha, miso, tempeh are a great way of getting good levels of probiotics in your body. As a result, the good bacteria in your gut will flourish. A healthy gut will positively impact how your immune system will respond to any threats.
Curcumin, a component found in turmeric offers immune-boosting properties and can contribute towards a healthy digestion. Research shows that curcumin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Here are 3 ways to add more turmeric into your diet:
- Soups such as this warming lentil soup
- Smoothies such as this cold-bursting smoothie recipe
- Hot drinks such as this turmeric wellness shots.
3. Zinc-rich foods
The body needs zinc to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It also helps to protect our gut lining and our microbiome. Zinc-rich foods include beef, chicken, tofu, pork, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, lentils, yogurt, oatmeal, and mushrooms.
4. Vitamin C-rich foods
Research shows that adequate intakes of vitamin C and zinc ameliorate symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections including the common cold. Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron in the gut which is also required for good immunity.
Vitamin C is water-soluble, and the body does not store it. To maintain adequate levels of vitamin C, we need a daily intake of food that contains it. Foods such as citrus fruits (lemons and oranges), berries (raspberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, strawberries), kale, parsley, bell peppers, broccoli are all rich in vitamin C and can help enhance the immune function of our body.
One of my favourite vitamin C drink is a parsley and orange smoothie. Simply blend a handful of parsley with one orange, some fresh or powdered turmeric, a pinch of black pepper (to help with the absorption of curcumin in turmeric) and half a banana with a glass of water. Delicious!
5. Vitamin A-rich foods
Vitamin A is essential for the health of the skin, the lining of the respiratory tract, the gut, the bladder, the inner ear, and the eyes and for maintaining a healthy immune system. Carrots, orange sweet potatoes, squashes, mangos, and papaya, are rich in antioxidants and therefore can protect the body from inflammation. Spinach, chard, liver, and eggs are also rich in vitamin A.
Other ways to boost the immune system
As well as eating a balanced diet incorporating some of the foods listed above, it is important to look at lifestyle strategies to boost the function of your immune system. Prioritising sleep, movement, some time in the sunshine to boost vitamin D levels and reducing stress, sugar, and alcohol will all contribute.
Support is available via The Luna Hive
If you are looking for support in those areas, feel free to explore the Luna Hive website which showcases a wide range of therapists to help you feel better in these rather uncertain times.