Taking care of your immune system is always important, but even more so now as we face a global pandemic. Generally, your immune system does an amazing job of defending you against disease causing micro-organisms. However, sometimes it fails, and infections can invade and take hold. Your first line of defence is a healthy lifestyle to ensure that your immune system is strong enough to fight potential illnesses and prevent negative impacts on your health.
The immune system is powerful and complex, and to function well the whole system requires balance and harmony. Following a healthy lifestyle is the best strategy to keep your immune system strong. This includes a combination of a good diet, exercise, adequate sleep, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol, psychological health and maintaining a healthy weight.
A varied diet consisting of a range of vitamins and minerals is required for the healthy function of all cells, including immune cells. Certainly, a deficiency of nutrients can alter the body’s immune response. Some nutrients have been identified as critical for the growth and function of immune cells such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, selenium, iron, and protein.
So, to support your immune system with these important nutrients, here are some of the best foods to include in your diet regularly.
Foods to Boost Your Immune System:
Vitamin C is a must for boosting immune health and is readily found in citrus fruits Consuming Vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels, which helps the body fight inflammation. Vitamin C also helps to control blood pressure, reduce the risk of chronic illness like heart disease. Consuming Vitamin C will also increase Iron absorption and reduces the risk of anaemia.
Vitamin C can be consumed in many ways, and all citrus fruits contain high levels. Other foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and capsicum also contain high levels of Vitamin C. Remember, your body doesn’t produce or store Vitamin C, and so it’s important that you consume it every day.
It’s no secret that we love everything green at Bindi… and broccoli has to be pretty much our favourite go-to green veg! Packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C and E, plus fibre and antioxidants, broccoli is a nutrient winner.
Remember to either lightly steam broccoli or eat it raw in a salad to keep the nutrients intact and to get the most from your greens.
More greens! Popeye was right… spinach really will make you stronger. Spinach has plenty of immune boosting Vitamin C plus antioxidants and beta carotene.
Spinach is healthiest when lightly cooked which increases the body’s absorption of Vitamin A & E plus protein, fibre, Zinc, Thiamin, Calcium and Iron. Try lightly wilted spinach in garlic for extra immune boosting nutrients.
This is the third “green” on our list. While not a traditional green food, it’s still packed with nutrients. Green tea has excellent levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and it’s antioxidant properties enhances immune function.
Studies have shown that tea catechins can prevent flu and some cold viruses from replicating and can increase immune activity. Try to avoid drinking green tea with your meals, as the tannins can interfere with iron absorption.
OK so it’s not a food, but there is a time and a place for supplements here. Knowing that many of vital nutrients are required daily, greens supplements can be a helpful addition to any diet. If you not getting every nutrient, every day, then adding a supergreens powder can provide over 40 nourishing ingredients in an easy to absorb form. Supergreens are a natural nutritional powerhouse that can help boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and promote healthy digestion, all alongside a balanced diet.
Include a balance of nutritious foods into your daily diet really is the basis for a strong immune system. It is important that they are eaten on a regular basis, as many of these nutrients can’t be stored by the body. Combined with a balanced lifestyle including regular exercise, you are giving your immune system the best chance to ward off illnesses.
What’s your favourite immune boosting food?