In these crazy, uncertain times, it can be hard to know what to do. But one thing that is universal among people, is look after your immunity. I am so happy to share some great information on this for you that hopefully you can take with you to look after your health and your loved ones. Note that these tips will not render you against the virus but if you do contact COVID-19, you hopefully will be well-equipped to feel well + manage its associated symptoms. And a healthy diet is also wonderful for the nervous system and thus your mental health – which is, more than ever highly important now.
Key immune boosting nutrients are:
- Vitamin A & Beta-carotene
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
Where do I get these?
1. Vitamin A & beta-carotene – found in orange coloured veggies, such as carrots, sweet potato, papaya and of course oranges. Are great for the health of our mucus membranes in the body
2. Vitamin C – again, oranges, but also berries, capsicum, broccoli, kale and kiwi fruits to name a few. A potent antioxidant as well as increasing cold & flu fighting white blood cells
3. Vitamin D – a great vitamin; it can be deficient in children in Winter (due to lack of sun or being indoors) – get outdoors on sunny days and enjoy eggs and oily fish. Vitamin D is a key player in warding off illnesses.
4. Iron - free range meats/ pumpkin seeds/ green leafy vegetables/ legumes/ figs/ tofu/ wholegrains/ dried apricots
5. Think Zinc. An all-rounder for the immune system – seafood, pumpkins seeds and organic meats are rich in this mineral
6. Probiotics – a healthy digestive system provides the basis for a good immune system. Majority of our immune system lies in the gut; it makes sense to nourish there. Enjoy natural full-fat yoghurts, kefir milk/ yoghurts and fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut & tempeh.
FOOD IS MEDICINE
In isolation or spending more time at home? Use this opportunity to cook! Here are some great immune loving ideas:
- Roast sweet potato with dinner – why not dry adding a few pieces of roasted garlic into it
- Salmon patties made with sweet potato & grated vegetables
- Go for green! Yes, green smoothies are still all the rage and so they should be. Adding kale, spinach, avocado & kiwi to banana and water (just to name a few) allows the body to readily absorb all the amazing immune-boosting properties of green vegetables
- Nourish your body with lovely nutrients such as good fats (avocado, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, fish) and good protein (organic meat, chicken, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs)
- Soup for the soul – it’s true, chicken, veggie or broths are great great for both the immune system and the gut. A great vessel for getting nutrients in – add garlic/ ginger/ turmeric/ herbs/ shallots/ anything you love! I love to add brown rice noodles to mine + the kids love it!
- Avoid sugar (one of my top rules!) – sugar feeds those nasty bugs and depletes the white blood cells that are the basis for the immune system
- If you are stock piling on all the basics (pasta, rice etc); try to make it wholegrain, spelt or better nutritious varieties rather than white. And don’t forget to stock up also on fresh food! That really is the key to a healthy body.
- Do some big cook-ups and deliver to those in need; we are all in this together😊
I am all for supplementing your diet with the necessary nutrients in times of need and here are my favourites:
- Vitamin C – an oldie but a goodie, also a potent antioxidant. Best had at intervals through-out the day
- Vitamin D – with some people in isolation, we really need to optimise levels of Vitamin D. If you can’t regularly get outdoors, consider a supplement. Research has shown that the immune system needs vitamin D to ward off viruses.
- Probiotics – If you think you are not getting enough via foods, consider a broad-spectrum supplement
- Zinc – such a lovely mineral for not only the immune system, but skin + mental health
*note: if you are considering taking supplements, be sure to chat to your health professional first.
Uncertain times and the unknown can certainly cause stress levels to rise. High levels of cortisol for a prolonged amount of time can really weaken the immune system.
Never underestimate the power of a few deep breaths. Try to find a simple meditation practice that you can fit into your day. Meditation has been shown to calm the nervous system and reduce stress significantly.
Consider adding these to your natural medicine cabinet:
- Tea tree
- Lavender – this is a real beauty for stress + sleep
- You have heard it over + over; wash those hands with soap + water for the recommended amount of time
- Always have a hand sanitizer with you and use it often
- And try not to touch your face often
- Again, another antidote for stress and the immune system.
- If your gym is closed; get outdoors, go for a walk, a run, a swim or download one of the plethora of fitness apps out there – you will find one to suit all levels of fitness
- Now is the time to find your fitness mojo!
- Really needs to be a priority now. Our bodies regenerate substantially over night, so ensure you get at least 7 hours, 8 even better
- Establish a lovely nigh time routine and avoid screens close to bed (especially reading up on information online that is not-essentially true) - facts are the key here not fear.
Stay happy + healthy,