Foods to boost your immunity
It’s no secret that you are what you eat. Along with other key factors including sleep, stress, and physical activity – what you feed your body has a direct impact on your immunity.
Our immune system is a defence mechanism that protects the body against infection and disease. It is therefore hugely valuable as it has an impact on our everyday functions, says Dana Whetton-Johnson, a nutritionist from Enhanced Wellbeing.
“Immunity is the cornerstone of health and the first line of defence against any pathogens, externally and internally.” The stronger your immune system is, the better prepared your body is to fight off sickness, so we need to do what we can to look after it, she says.
For many of us, Covid-19 and winter illnesses have taken a toll on our immunity. So as we head into summer, it’s time to build this up again by making the most of vitamin D from the sun and the bounty of food available at this time of year.
Here are some of the top immune- boosting foods Whetton-Johnson recommends. By incorporating them into your diet you’ll start reaping the benefits of these nutritional powerhouses.
1. Leafy green vegetables – Brimming with fibre, vitamins and minerals, vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, beans, kale and bok choy offer numerous health benefits.
2. Yellow and orange vegetables – Carrots, capsicum, pumpkin, kumara and other vegetables of this colour are very high in antioxidants that protect against free radical damage.
3. Berries – They’re delicious, nutritious and provide a number of health benefits, making them among the healthiest foods you can eat. Loaded with antioxidants, rich in vitamin C and high in fibre, they’re a great choice over the summer months when fresh berries are plentiful.
4. Fermented foods – Try yoghurt which carries good bacteria that helps with immunity and digestive function. Other great options are sauerkraut and kimchi. You don’t need to eat these everyday for maximum benefit – “just pulse them through your diet”, says Whetton-Johnson.
5. Nuts and seeds – A great source of protein, healthy fats and omegas, nuts and seeds are high in antioxidants and can help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Our overall health and immunity is a direct result of how we live our life. Food is a huge part of this, but sleep, movement, and mental health are also critical. When it comes to natural foods remember “the more colour the better”, as they’re rich in antioxidants and protect you from free radicals. And don’t forget hydration, particularly over the warmer months. Water, homemade iced herbal tea and soda water with some fresh fruit thrown in are all great options.