The change of season definitely puts extra stress on our bodies and I’ve noticed it in a number of clients over the last two months. We may start to do less exercise and alter our diet to comforting carbs which weakens our immune systems and makes us vulnerable to winter colds.
The best way to boost your immune system is by taking in the right nutrients as our digestive tract contains the largest number of immune cells of our whole bodies. It makes up around 60% of our entire immune system. So here’s some top foods to support you over winter:
1. Leafy greens, kale, spinach and brocolli have a special immune cell which protects the body from bad bacteria in the intestines.
2. Oats are rich in selenium and beta-glucans which enhance the action of an immune cell called neutrophils. They also act as a prebiotic in the gut which helps support the immune function.
3. Mushrooms, particularly shiitake, maitake and reishi boost our immune system as they are anti-viral. They also protect us from cancer.
4. Green Tea, can increase the number of immune supporting T-cells which improve immune function and increase inflammation in the body.
5. Yogurt & Keffir, helps maintain healthy bactieria in the gut and crowd out harmful microbes and stimulate immune-cell reproduction.
6. Butternut squash & Sweet potato, packed with vitamins A and C which are essential nutrients for the immune system. Vitamin A also supports our skin which is the barrier between us and the outside world.
7. Salmon & Oily fish, omega 3 increases activity of immune system cells, specially B white blood cells. The vitamin D is also essential for a healthy immune system.
8. Citrus fruits, packed with vitamin C help identify and attack invaders. Increase your levels including berries, kiwi fruit and red peppers too.
9. Manuka honey has antimicrobial properties but if you do get a sniffle it also helps coat irritated membranes and soothes coughs.
10. Raw cacao, combats free radicals which try to stop the immune system from working. It’s also packed with zinc an antiviral nutrient. Zinc can lessen cold duration and decrease its severity so keep it on hand and take it within 24 hours of symptoms. Other sources of zinc are nuts, seeds, oysters and meat.
11. Garlic, fresh and crushed is antibacterial and antiviral.
12. Coconut oil is effective against viruses and is also antimicrobial and antifungal.
So keep up your levels of all the foods above and you could get away with not catching the colds and flu doing the rounds this year. You’ll definitely feel better for it so why not give it a go.