One of the best ways to encourage optimal immune functioning is to make sure your body has everything it needs to support ant reproduce healthy immune cells. When our body is stocked up on nutrients and phytonutrients – like Vitamin C, B vitamins, antioxidants, and magnesium – these are available in supply for the cells to call on when they need them.
- Consume vegetables and fruit that are bright in colour and in their natural form
- Choose whole grain sources of carbohydrates to increase fibre intake and maximize B vitamin intake
- Eat a variety of foods to maintain an efficient level of fat, protein and carbohydrates. All of these macronutrients are important in body functioning.
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, a compound which helps remove free radicals in the body. This is why it is important in immunity, and can be found in red capsicum, citrus fruit, Kakadu Plum and many other fruits and vegetables.
While you cannot “wash away” a virus, there are many reasons why it is important to consume adequate water or hydrating beverages like herbal teas:
- Water is required to maintain blood volume, and adequate blood volume ensures consistent blood circulation of immune cells.
- Hydrated cells are healthier cells! Think about how you feel when you are dehydrated – tired, low-energy, fatigued – and the same thing happens to your cells! Lack of water means they might not have the functional capacity to do their job
Plain water is the most accessible source of hydration for your cells. Other options however, like herbal tea, sparkling water and coconut water all present hydration alternatives. Mix it up in your daily routine to make sure you get enough and aren’t bored by just plain water!
If you have always thought about committing to at-home workouts, or want to make use of the set of dumbbells you have in your garage, now is a great time to do so. You can do your own at-home workout with bodyweight or hand weights if you have them, and integrate high intensity cardio activities, like jumping Jacks, running, high knees, jump squats or Burpees. In these times movement is good for many reasons:
- Helps the movement of lymph which contains waste that your body is trying to get rid of.
- Encourages the intake of increased oxygen and helps with blood circulation. some immune cells travel through the blood and need to get to their destination!
- Improves your state of mind, helping reduce stress and anxiety and make you feel happier and more in control
- Move outside! Doing it outdoors gives you the added bonus of a Vitamin D hit from the sunshine. Vitamin D is important for immune cell function.
Eating whole foods and drinking adequate water goes a long way in making sure you maintain a heathy body and a fully functioning immune system. However, there are some ingredients or foods that are particularly high on the immunity friendly list.
- Turmeric – an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce unnecessary inflammation in the body so immune resources can be more efficiently used.
- Vitamin D rich foods – Mushrooms, eggs and fatty fish contain this vitamin that is essential for immune function. Added bonus if you head out into the sunshine and get a double dose!
- Peppermint – Great for fighting congestion or helping reduce symptoms in the early stages of illness.
- Probiotic foods – These help maintain a healthy gut biome and ensure a proper balance of bacteria in your gut. The bacteria function in manufacturing some of the immune cells, so it is imperative that they are able to do this.
There is no one food, one thing or one ingredients that is going to protect you from contracting a virus or instantly give your immune system a boost. But when you stack together lots of healthy habits and stay consistent, there is a great chance that your immune system will be armed and ready in case anything decides to make an entrance!