With Winter just around the corner and COVID-19 threatening our health, we thought we’d share our 10 BEST IMMUNE SUPPORT TIPS to help you stay healthy!
Regular fermented foods:
The balance of bacteria in our gut governs the functioning of your immune system, so a healthy gut environment is crucial for protecting the body from infections and viruses. Fermented foods are a great source of probiotics to help support the balance of this good bacteria each day- such as organic sauerkraut, coconut or dairy probiotic yoghurt, kim chi, kefir and kombucha. Aim to include 1 fermented food each day e.g. mix sauerkraut into a salad, or add kefir yoghurt to a breakfast smoothie.
Boost your vitamin A, C, D, E, and Zinc:
These specific vitamins and minerals are required to help boost the immune system. Vitamins A, C, D and E also act as powerful antioxidants to help fight against infections and reduce free radical cell damage. Zinc helps to reduce inflammation, support immune function, support gut lining and heal wounds. You can find these nutrients in your food- in seeds, nuts, leafy green vegetables, fruit and lean protein. There are also good quality supplements containing these nutrients that can help to supplement your dietary intake.
Protein each day:
Protein is crucial for repairing body tissues and fighting viral and bacterial infections. Your immune system cells actually rely on protein for proper functioning. As a guide for healthy individuals, aim for 1g of protein per kg of body weight. If you are ill, or undergoing intensive exercising- your protein requirements may increase. Consult your health professional e.g. Dietitian/Naturopath if you have any questions.
Supplement with immune herbs:
There are several immune herbs that have been clinically shown to improve our immune response to infections. Some wonderful immune herbs are Astragalus, Echinacea and Elderberry. Echinacea and Elderberry in particular are safe for most people including children. Come speak to one of our qualified Naturopaths to assist you in choosing the right herbs for you and your family.
Get some sunshine and fresh air:
Research shows that fresh air and sunshine strengthen your immune system! Your white blood cells kill and fight infections and protect you from getting sick. These cells need oxygen to work and function properly. Additionally, Vitamin D from the sun is well known to reduce bacterial and viral infections. So, going for a walk outside (if you are able to) for 15 minutes or more each day can help to keep you healthy and happy.
Focus on warm foods:
Broths and soups have been used for centuries around the world to reduce inflammation, fight infections and support wellbeing. Specifically, chicken and beef broths are high in collagen, gelatin and amino acids which support a healthy gut lining and support immune cell activity such as B cells, T cells and macrophages. Also, warm foods and drinks have been found to loosen mucus and keep your airways clear to reduce risk of bacterial and viral infections.
Your blood is made up of around 90% water which helps to transport oxygen to your body cells to allow healthy cellular function. Water is also crucial for your lymphatic drainage (i.e. your drainage and sewage system) which constantly functions to remove toxins from the body. So, staying well hydrated can help prevent toxins from building up and putting a strain on your immune system- aim for 2L water per day- this can include herbal teas and broths, soups.
Move your body:
Regular physical activity has been shown to help increase the body’s antibody and white cell activity- in doing so, increasing your defence against infections. In fact, studies show that moderate intensity exercise can reduce the number of colds and viruses you get, it can flush the airways of bacteria, increase oxygen in the blood, as well as increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Aim to move your body everyday for 30 minutes in an enjoyable and safe way.
Connect with loved ones:
Staying connected to loved ones during these stressful times is so important for our mental health. So, although you may not be able to meet face-to-face due to the necessary isolation/distancing laws, ensure to reach out to friends and family each day via a phone call, text message, sending an email, setting up a Zoom date, set up a Facebook gratitude page etc. We need to support each other during these times.
Rest and sleep:
It is easy to get caught up in all of the fear and stress in our lives at the moment. However, this stress can deplete our immune system, which we don’t need or want! Your ‘stress’ hormone cortisol can lower T-cell activity and antibody signalling, and also impact your sleep and gut health, therefore, your ability to digest and absorb key nutrients for healthy immune function and wellbeing (such as iron, B12, vitamin C, amino acids etc.) One of the best things that you can do right now is to keep calm and focus on the things within your control (e.g. all of the above points) AND aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and go to sleep before 12pm.
If you need more tailored support- please book in with one of our expert Dietitians, Nutritionists or Naturopaths for a tailored health plan >> https://healthsquared.com.au/our-naturopaths/
Take care 💕
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Written by Gabi Coulthurst- Holistic Expert Dietitian and Nutritionist at Health Squared Toowong
P.S. For Queensland Health COVID-19 Guidelines: Visit this Queensland Government link for the latest updates on COVID-19, quarantine and self-distancing guidelines https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19
P.P.S Check out our FAVOURITE immune essentials below!