Strange times, eh?
Updated: Mar 23
So, while pasta and loo roll naturally have their place in the current climate, it’s never been more important to be bringing in the fresh stuff. We’ve done a spot of research and enlisted expert advice on how best to ride out these months with our immunity at full throttle.
Julia Young is a registered nutritional therapist and believes a wide range and balance of natural, fresh food is the key to boosting our immunity quickly and effectively.
“It’s really important to be supporting our immune system at the moment,” says Julia. “I like a food first approach, putting lots of nutritious real food into our bodies, and avoiding processed food, to give our immune system the support it needs.” We’ve put together a handful of tips on how to come through this particular storm relatively unscathed.
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
Vitamin C — Thoughts naturally turn to oranges as a source of Vitamin C but peppers, kiwi, broccoli and berries are also excellent options.
Vitamin A - a lack of vitamin A can lower our immunity. Good sources include liver, fish, cheese and eggs, also orange fruit and vegetables.
Zinc — Supports the function of our immune cells. Dark green leafy vegetables such as cabbage, spinach, kale and broccoli all contain zinc. As do nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), fish and seafood.
Vitamin D — Key for supporting the immune system, being outside will increase your exposure to natural light and increase your intake of vitamin D, important for regulating sleep and boosting mood. Oily fish and eggs are good food sources of vitamin D.
Up the Anti’s Load up on foods which have natural antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties such as garlic, onions, ginger, oregano, turmeric and coconut oil — grate, chop and sprinkle them into anything they’ll compliment. Omega 3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammation so dig into the oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines. You’ll also find other healthy fats in nuts, seeds and good old avocado, essential for energy and cell rejuvenation.
Eat a Rainbow We’ve heard it before, but it really does matter. Fruit and vegetables contain phytochemicals, plant compounds which protect our cells from damage, support our immune system and reduce inflammation. Eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables will help us benefit from the full range of phytochemicals.
Tummy Time Our gut microbiome plays an essential role in maintaining immune function. 70% of immune cells are located in our digestive system so looking after the gut bacteria is vital for immune health. Eating both prebiotic (asparagus, green bananas, onions) and probiotic fermented foods will balance and support the tummy flora.
Make like Popeye Spinach is a wonder. Not only does it contain about a billion (told you we asked experts) vitamins and minerals, including immune boosting zinc, but it also dissolves into almost nothing, making it perfect to disguise in anything your kids eat and an excellent base for smoothies. It freezes easily and can be cooked from frozen.
Stay Fluid Keeping hydrated is essential so remember to drink plenty of water, and herbal teas are a good warm option.
Keep Calm and Sleep well Stress is well documented to lower immunity, so do whatever you can to relax — worrying might just make you more susceptible to illness. Immune cells are produced during sleep so be sure to get your full 8 hours and I personally recommend loud kitchen karaoke and a minute of burpees to see off most stress. What?
WORDS by Emma Eichhorn
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Nutritional knowledge gratefully received from Julia Young Nutrition.
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Written by Ooh Weybridge by Rachel Horlington
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Disclaimer: Nutritional Therapy is not a replacement for medical advice, practitioners always refer any client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional. The information provided here is general and is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any diseases or conditions.