It feels like everyone around us is dropping like flies with a cold, flu, or that nasty gastro bug. The immune system helps protect us from infection and disease. The main parts of the immune system are white blood cells, antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the spleen, the thymus, and the bone marrow. These are the parts of your immune system that actively fight infection. For that reason, I have put together some tips to boost your immune system.
What Factors Compromise Our Immune System?
• Excess sugar consumption
• Nutrient deficiencies
• Exposure to known allergens
• Lack of sleep
Ways To Boost Your Immune System
- Cease smoking
- Eat a fresh whole food diet high in fruits and vegetables. Include plenty of different coloured fruit and vegetables, as different colours will provide different nutrients. Also include plenty of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods such as berries, turmeric, ginger, and oily fish.
- Get regular exercise. Whether you play a sport or it’s simply incidental exercise try and move your body on a regularly.
- If you drink alcohol, avoid binge drinking and have alcohol free days.
- Get adequate sleep, aim for 7-8 hours a night. (Sometimes very difficult with kids, I get it!)
- Have good personal hygiene habits
- Minimise stress
- Drink plenty of water, at least 2 litres daily.
What Nutrients & Foods Boost Your Immune System?
Zinc helps promote a healthy immune system. Foods rich in zinc include meat, shellfish, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, and beans), sesame and sunflower seeds, eggs, spinach, mushrooms, and nuts.
Vitamin A helps to enhance the immune system. Foods rich in Vitamin A include sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, rockmelon, mangoes, apricots, and peaches.
Vitamin C helps to enhance the immune system. Foods rich in Vitamin C are broccoli, banana, cauliflower, strawberries, kiwi fruit, lemons, oranges, and Brussel sprouts.
Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system. Foods rich in Vitamin D include tuna, mackerel, salmon, egg yolks, and mushrooms.
Selenium helps to enhance the immune system. It is also an antioxidant that helps lower oxidative stress and reduces inflammation within the body. Foods rich in selenium are Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, eggs, mushrooms, and fish.
Probiotics can help support the immune system and boost good bacteria within the gut. Aim for a broad spectrum probiotic as different strains will help support gut and immune health as well as general health and wellbeing. Foods that include probiotics are yoghurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.
Garlic is known as nature’s antibiotic, it helps to maintain a healthy immune system.
When you are sick avoid mucous forming foods, such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, dairy, and excessive animal proteins. Also, try and take the time out you need to rest and let your body recover. Yes as a mum this can be really difficult because life does go on! Try and include some of the foods listed above within your diet it will help boost your immune system and fight off those nasty infections.
*Please note if you are on any prescribed medication it’s important to check any interactions between supplements, herbs, and medication.
Pam helps men and women prioritise their health and wellbeing. Through her expertise as a naturopath, nutritionist, and personal trainer she enables people to take control of their mental health and various health conditions through natural medicine and healthy lifestyle changes. She offers realistic ways to help create a happier and healthier life. When she isn’t running her business, you can find her on the hockey field or creating some delicious food for her kids. Pam has had her own personal journey through high-performance sporting and career roles where she shifted from burnout, depression, and anxiety to balance and bouncing forward.
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