What Foods Support Immunity?

A Healthy Gut if the First Line of Defence

Everyday our immune system helps protect us from the host of bacteria, viruses, fungi, toxins, and parasites that bombard us and invade our bodies. As we approach winter many of you will be hoping to ward off these bugs.

A healthy diet, moderate exercise, sleep and dealing with stress effectively will help keep your immune system strong. You need a healthy gut with a variety of friendly bacteria to act as the body’s first lines of defence against these pathogens. Up to 80% of the immune system is in the gut. The stomach is another line of defence where some pathogens may be destroyed by the acidic environment of the stomach. Foods to support healthy gut bacteria include natural yoghurt, Kefir, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut. The gut needs a good variety of healthy foods.

Foods that impact on the levels of good bacteria would be sugar, too much alcohol, and a diet that is based mostly of highly processed foods.

Antibiotics will kill of good gut bacteria, if you have taken antibiotics I would recommend taking something like Udo's Choice Super 8 Immune Microbiotics. This will help top you up quickly and maintain a healthy diet after that.

Garlic supports immunity

Other foods to support immunity include garlic which has a long history in herbal medicine. It doesn't just keep the vampires away! Add a clove of garlic a day to your daily regime. Manuka Honey is fantastic to have in the house for colds, sore throats or infection. Always choose good quality brands of Manuka Honey.

This is a nice little recipe using these two foods that you could make to help in times of need. Chop a couple of cloves of garlic finely, cover the garlic with double the amount of manuka honey, and the same amount of water. Mix together well and leave for 2-3 days. Then take 1-2 teaspoons of the mixture every two hours during a cold/flu or infection.

Goji Berries contain polysaccharides and germanium both of which are known to have positive effects on the immune system. You could add to cereal, yoghurt, or eat a few per day. Pumpkin seeds are a natural source of zinc and they can play a role in regulating the function of the immune system. Aim to include lots of vegetables brightly coloured and green leafy ones, and lots of fruit in your daily diet. Other foods you might like to include is Bee Pollen, they contain a host of nutrients, can support energy levels and may boost your immune system.

Drink plenty of water, this helps to flush the body of toxins. Herbal teas can make a great addition to your daily diet. I like Pukka Echinacea and Elderberry tea, it tastes great too. Elderberry is one of natures natural antiviral remedies and many use Elderberry for respiratory support. Echinacea is one of the most commonly used herbs to support the immune system.

Top spices to include are turmeric, ginger, and cayenne pepper. These can be used freely on a daily basis.

This is just some of nature’s foods to help keep you fit and ready for the months ahead.

Foods to support the Lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is part of your immune system. It produces and releases lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, and other immune cells. These cells look for pathogens that enter the bloodstream and aim to destroy them. This can include bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. Swollen lymph nodes can be felt in the neck or under the arms when the body if fighting infection and be a sign for you that you are in fact dealing with an infection.

Exercise is one of the best ways to support the lymphatic system as it gets the blood flowing. This can be walking, running, dancing, anything really that gets the blood flowing will help. Jumping on the spot or on a trampoline would be great if you were up for that!

Some foods that are good to support the lymphatic system include green leafy vegetables, flaxseed or chia seeds, avocado, garlic, brazil nuts and almonds, and low sugar fruits.

Hopefully you can stay healthy and well this season.

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