What can we do NOW to make our immune systems more resilient?
By Corrin Ainley
Naturopath ND, Nutritionist, Body Talk Practitioner
While we don’t yet know everything about COVID-19, we do know that nutrition plays a major role in influencing our immune defenses and susceptibility to infectious diseases.
Although I’m a very optimistic person, there have been times where I felt stressed and frustrated. The good news is, most of us are more motivated than ever to take care of our health.
As many of you have asked me how to support your family’s immune systems during this pandemic, I’d like to share with you my top immune boosting food recommendations.
Follow a Mediterranean or Ketogenic diet.
Current evidence suggests that the Mediterranean diet provides protection against several diseases associated with inflammation and immune activation. The Mediterranean diet includes - fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, chicken, fish, nuts, seeds and wholegrains – and eating less of the starchy foods: rice, pasta, bread, flour and white potato.
Avoid simple sugars and processed/junk food.
Did you know that within 30 minutes of eating simple sugars (like glucose, refined sugar, and fructose), the ability of your white blood cells (called macrophages) to “eat up” viruses and bacteria that are trying to invade DECREASES by 50%!
How to reduce sugar intake:
- Read food labels and choose the lowest sugar options.
- Replace sugar with pureed fruit, honey or xylitol, stevia or monk fruit.
- Try these delicious sugar-free supermarket options; Well Naturally chocolate, Denada vegan ice-cream, Nudie coconut yoghurt
Increase immune boosting nutrients in these foods:
Our immune system requires nutrients like vitamins A, D, E, and C, and minerals like zinc, selenium, and iron to function properly—and these nutrients are best obtained from food. Here are foods rich in these nutrients.
- VITAMIN A: Liver, carrots, sweet potato, kale, broccoli, butter, spinach, eggs, red and yellow capsicum, butternut squash, tuna, apricots
- VITAMIN C: Citrus, red capsicum, broccoli, spinach, kiwi fruit
- VITAMIN D: Cod liver oil, sardines, salmon, fatty fish, dairy, eggs, mushrooms
- VITAMIN E: Sunflower seeds, hazel nuts, almonds, avocado, leafy greens
- ZINC: Grass-fed meat, shellfish, beans, sunflower seeds, nuts, eggs
- SELENIUM: Brazil nuts, pork, beef, turkey, chicken
- IRON: Shellfish, spinach, liver and organ meats, legumes, red meat, fish, pork, chicken, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, turkey, broccoli, tofu
I hope you enjoy some creative cooking with these ingredients!