We’re not going to pretend there’s any magic diet or food that will completely protect you from illness, but we wanted to highlight some things you can consider to keep yours and your families bodies well nourished.
The main thing to focus on, is a well balanced diet, which generally compromises of plenty of protein, carbohydrates & fats. Within that, plenty of fruit and veg.
The World Health Organisation suggests 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, although more recent research says at least 7 is more effective at fighting disease.
Portion sizes are as follows, if using 7 portions as a guide:
For an adult, a minimum of 560g of fruit and veg per day, or seven 80g portions.
The amount for children varies, based on activity level and age, but a rough guide is that one portion should fit in the palm of the hand.
The less they are cooked, the more nutrients they hold on to, but don’t sweat about this too much.
Potatoes are great, but don’t class as your 5/7 a day, although sweet potato, swede, turnips and parsnips do.
While it’s tempting to believe that eating a single fruit or vegetable containing a certain nutrient, vitamin or antioxidant will be the answer to our health needs, this is not borne out by science. It's best not to concentrate on any one food in the hope that it will work miracles.
Instead, dieticians say we should aim for a well-balanced and varied diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Food that may help your immune system!
Citrus fruits contains vitamin C, which is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infection.
Your body cannot store vitamin C, so it’s important to get this in regularly.
Red bell peppers have the most vitamin C of any fruit or veg. Ounce for ounce, they contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits.
Broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals. It’s packed with vitamins A, C and E.
As well as potentially helping fight infection, garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulphur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Ginger can help decrease inflammation, which can sooth a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C & beta carotene which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Cook as little as possible. It has been found that light cooking actually enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released.
When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C.
However, vitamin E is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats.
46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.
Take notice of calories though, as eating nuts is an easy way of hugely increasing your daily calorie intake.
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Whee green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function. The fermentation process black tea goes through destroys a lot of the EGCG. Green tea, on the other hand, is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved.
Green tea is also a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatine, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity.
Look for yogurts that have "live and active cultures" printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases. Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kinds that are pre-flavoured and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.
This leads me on to rounding it all off with a quick mention of healthy gut bacteria.
Inside your gut, there are trillions of bacteria.
Scientists estimate the exact number to be 1024 or 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! They call this natural ecosystem inside you “the microbiome”. Imagine your microbiome like a tiny Amazon rainforest, full of beautiful life forms. When healthy, it’s like a thriving ecosystem of flowers, fish, birds, trees, rivers, deer and jaguars. You want this ecosystem to be biodiverse and full of life.
Your skin, digestion, sleep, and bone formation rely on your microbiome. Your energy levels, mood, allergies and immune system are all determined by it.
Any problem with your microbiome will ripple outwards through your entire body.
And here’s the problem: modern life harms your microbiome – sugar, stress, antibiotics and environmental toxins. These reduce the good bugs in your gut.
Starting your day with a probiotic, such as a strong live kefir can really benefit you.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that is full of live active cultures. It comes from the Black Caucasus Mountains of Russia, where the inhabitants lived very long and healthy lives.
I personally use a company called Chuckling Goat. No affiliation, I just like the product; it’s been part of my daily routine for over a year now.
If there’s anything you’d like to know or discuss, you know where we are. We’re more than happy to help.