In a time when stress and health anxiety may be depleting your physical and mental resilience, we should look at how we nourish our immune health to ensure our bodies and minds are ready for this understandably trying time.
The complexities of life can often be daunting – juggling work, family, and social commitments – it becomes increasingly essential to fortify our natural defences. After all, a robust immune system is our first line of defence against illnesses that can disrupt our well-being and daily routines.
There are many ways we can set out to accomplish this, with the most important being keeping to a healthy diet that incorporates a wide variety of fresh fruit, leafy greens, key vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, fermented foods, vitamin C, some dairy products, beta carotene, and drinking plenty of water – among others.
A balanced diet of healthy foods isn’t the only immune boosting activity available, there’s also getting adequate sleep, engaging in physical activity through regular exercise and strength training, managing chronic stress and cortisol levels, and improving the frequency of positive social interactions.
Unlocking the Secrets of Immune-Boosting Nutrition
In this article, we’ll focus on some of the most important foods and vitamins known to heighten our immune strength.
Let’s start by exploring some ancient wisdom and cutting-edge research that can guide us in fortifying our immune system, the guardian of our health.
Ancient Wisdom Meets Modern Science
Food and drink have been a protective and restorative measure for centuries during illness. In recent years, academic research has started to catch up with what civilisations have known for hundreds of years.
There’s an intricate relationship between what we eat and how well our immune system functions. It’s not just about calories but the quality of nutrients that can make or break your immune response.
The Role of T-Cells and Natural Killer Cells
Nutrition plays a role in optimising your immunity and can positively affect white blood cell count. Specifically, and relevant for viruses, nutrition can influence T-cell and natural killer cell count and activity.
These cells are your body’s microscopic warriors, always looking for pathogens. They have the crucial function of seeking out and killing virus-infected cells, acting as your internal security force.
Personal Recommendations for Immunity
I wanted to share some of my go-to ingredients when illness is knocking at my door. These are not just random picks from a health magazine – they are tried and tested elements of my wellness routine.
Whether it’s the anti-inflammatory power of ginger or the antioxidant richness of cacao or garlic, these ingredients have a special place in my kitchen – and they should be in yours, too.
These ingredients have a special place in my kitchen – and they should be in yours, too. Want to learn more? Join our build immunity naturally workshop!
Disclaimer: These recommendations are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, including COVID-19.
6 Natural Ways To Boost Your Immunity
In the hustle and bustle of modern life, keeping your immune system in tip-top shape has never been more critical. Let’s explore how some natural foods and all-around health game-changing powerhouses like cacao and ginger do more than ramp up your immunity.
Disclaimer: Please talk with your doctor before starting any supplement regimen.
Raw cacao (no, not regular chocolate!) is generally known for its intense, rich taste and, from a health standpoint, its naturally high antioxidant levels. Its potent antioxidant role is the result of its polyphenol content. However, more relevant for the current landscape, these compounds in cocoa have demonstrated an ability to modify T-cell function.
Furthermore, cocoa is a great food to help keep your overall immunity boosted. Its ability as an anti-inflammatory and its excellent effect on the immune response of your gut make it a great reason to make hot chocolate from scratch! If hot chocolate is not your thing, try a tablespoon in a smoothie or energy ball recipe.
2. Fresh Ginger
Ginger is widely used across multiple civilisations to help boost the immune system and recover from illness. Studies show fresh ginger (not dried) could stimulate mucosal cells to secrete IFN-b that could contribute to counteracting viral infections.
Fighting and protecting our respiratory system is an essential factor during the current climate, so why not add some chopped ginger to enhance your meals, make some fresh lemon and ginger tea instead of coffee, or even make an apple and ginger smoothie? A quick health boost is always possible with a bit of ginger!
Garlic is not just for warding off vampires – it’s a natural antibiotic used for centuries to fight bacterial infections. Garlic can enhance the functioning of the immune system by stimulating certain cell types, such as macrophages, lymphocytes, and natural killer cells. Its active compound, allicin, has been found to play a significant role in its immune-boosting properties.
In other words, don’t skimp on the garlic the next time you’re cooking. Whether it’s a garlic-infused stir-fry or a hearty garlic bread, incorporating more garlic into your diet could be your secret weapon for staying healthy and keeping your body from infection. And if you’re worried about garlic breath, remember: it’s better than catching a cold!
Turmeric, the golden spice that gives curry its vibrant colour, is more than just a kitchen staple. It’s a superfood celebrated for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has been extensively studied for its beneficial effects on the immune system. Research has shown that curcumin can modulate the activation of T cells, B cells, and macrophages, enhancing the body’s immune response.
Adding a dash of turmeric to your meals spices things up and adds a layer of protection for your immune system. You can even make a comforting cup of turmeric tea as a soothing end to your day. Trust me, your immune system will thank you.
If you’re keen on making these immune-boosting superfoods a regular part of your meals, don’t miss our healthy food workshop.
5. Vitamin E
Fat-solubles like Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K are vital for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Vitamin E is one of these fat-soluble vitamins that keeps showing promising benefits. A great way of obtaining normal vitamin E levels is to eat 100g of almonds!
Researchers have also shown the benefits of supplementing above these levels, such that an intake of 200 IU vitamin E in elderly persons has been noted to reduce the overall occurrence of upper, but not lower, respiratory tract infections.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D levels affect the body’s activity of almost 1,000 different genes. If your levels are out of the optimal ranges, we can quickly see the deterioration of your immune system.
High levels of vitamin D are crucial in modulating innate and adaptive immune responses. They help regulate innate immune health in the upper respiratory tract. It has been shown to have a preventive effect on upper respiratory infections. Vitamin D can be consumed in a variety of foods. However, the best way of getting it is to expose yourself (safely) to sunlight.
In addition to its immune-boosting properties, Vitamin D also has a significant impact on our mental well-being. To learn more, check out our article on vitamin d and mood.
Ask your doctor to check for Vitamin D deficiency to see if supplementation is needed.
Take Control of Your Health Today!
So, there you have it – a comprehensive guide to naturally fortifying your immune system with nutritious foods and vitamins that enhance our body’s adaptive response, backed by ancient wisdom and modern science.
From the anti-inflammatory benefits of ginger to the antioxidant goodness of garlic and the health-boosting effects of vitamins, these are more than just food items – they’re your body’s natural allies in the fight for optimal health. Trust me, your immune system will be singing your praises.
Why not take the next step? Subscribe to our newsletter for more health tips, recipes, and exclusive content in your inbox. If you’re interested in diving deeper into the world of nutrition, especially in a workplace setting, consider placing an inquiry on our workplace nutrition workshop.
Please talk with your doctor before starting any supplement regimen.