With the colder months approaching we are heading into the season when people start to pick up colds, coughs and even flu. The body does an amazing job protecting us from viruses, bacteria and infections but in order to function optimally the immune system requires many nutrients, adequate sleep, relaxation and exercise.
Top tips to look after your immune system
Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruit and wholegrains - rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Onions and garlic have natural antibacterial and antiviral properties making them an excellent addition to any meal.
Reduce Immune Suppressors like tea, coffee, alcohol, sugar and refined foods.
Exercise regularly Exercise can help boost antibody production protecting the body against invaders.
Get enough sleep The immune system needs rest to keep you healthy. Aim for 8 hours a night.
Eat live yoghurt or take a pro-biotic to maintain levels of friendly bacteria in the gut which form a large part of the immune system.
Reduce your stress levels Stress can suppress your immune system so try and use techniques to help lower your stress like yoga, meditation, walking or simply laughing.
Drink plenty of water
Immune Boosting Nutrientsand Foods
Vitamin C found in berries, lemons, kiwis, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tomatoes and green leafy vegetables.
Vitamin A (beta-carotene) found incarrots, broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos, oranges and watermelon.
Zinc found in eggs, whole-grains, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, ginger, yeast.
Echinacea Can be taken as a teaor in a supplement (please check with health professional for dosage)
Immune Boosting Smoothie Recipe
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or coconut water or purified water)
1-2 apples, your choice, cored and quartered
1 kiwi, peeled and chopped
3 cups loosely packed spinach (that's about 3 large handfuls)
1/2 avocado, peeled & pitted
2 teaspoons raw organic honey (local if possible)
1/2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and chopped (use an inch if you like it)
juice of 1 small lemon (about 2-3 tablespoons)
4 to 6 ice cubes (optional)
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately. (source: www.mindbodygreen.com)
Sources used: Osiecki H. (2015). The Nutrient Bible. Australia:AG Publishing; www.mindbodygreen.com