More that ever right now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, our attention has turned to ways in which we can support our immune systems. As well as keeping stress in check and tending to our mental health, the food we eat plays a crucial role in the way our immune systems perform. We all know that being run down, stressed, or depleted in nutrients, makes us more susceptible to illness and infection, so here are some ways in which you can support your health, starting today:
Increase antioxidant-rich foods to protect the body from free-radical damage – increase all fresh vegetables and low sugar fruits – green leafy veg, berries, cherries, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, kale, a variety of colours of fruits and vegetables.
Eat therapeutic herbs and spices. These are tasty and easy to incorporate into your cooking to boost your natural defences. Think turmeric, ginger, garlic, onions, rosemary and medical mushrooms, like shiitake and oyster.
Eat omega-3-rich foods to lower inflammation and improve cell membrane integrity, such as wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout, herring, anchovies, avocados, walnuts, almonds, seeds and cold-pressed seed oils.
Avoid unhealthy fats such as those found in processed foods, trans fats, vegetable cooking oils and margarine. Cook only with extra virgin olive oil at low temperature and grass fed butter, ghee or virgin coconut oil.
Eat quality protein for healthy, strong muscles and tissue repair, and to increase energy and strength. Healthy proteins include grass fed meats, free range poultry, tofu, beans, oily fish, organic eggs, vegetable protein powders, sprouts, organic whey, nuts and seeds.
Avoid sugar and refined, white carbohydrates. These spike insulin promoting inflammation and dampening down immunity. Starchy white foods like pasta and bread may fill you up, but they’re devoid of nutrients.
Avoid processed foods, food additives and intensively-reared meat/dairy. Synthetic chemicals from fake foods upset your body’s ability to fight infection. Eat as clean as you can. Always try to purchase naturally reared meat if you can afford it to avoid synthetic hormones, growth promotors and antibiotics used in intensively-reared animals.
Lower your body’s toxic burden by switching to natural skincare and household products. Use essential oils in a burner or diffuser instead of air fresheners, choose natural cleaning products and switch to therapeutic and natural skincare ranges. Your skin absorbs everything you put onto it. Your body does not want parabens, fake perfumes or phthalates. Visit EWG’s SKIN Deep database to find out more.
Eat cleansing and nutrient-dense foods and superfoods like spirulina, seaweeds, wheatgrass, vegetable juices and natural, clean foods. These will flood your body with nutrients.
Eat foods that are easy to digest and don’t challenge the digestive system, such as soups, steamed and stir fried veggies, smoothies and vegetable juices. Chew your food well and be mindful when you eat. Distracted and hurried eating promotes malabsorption and digestive disturbance.
Consider food intolerance testing to uncover any hidden food sensitivities that may be affecting your health and placing a burden on your immune system. Click here for more info on testing.
Article by Jo Rowkins, Nutritional Therapist at Awakening Health.
If you wish to talk to Jo about health and nutrition and how nutritional therapy can help you, please get in touch.