Simple Ways To Support Your Immune SystemMarch 2019
Nothing tests your immune system like the kids going back at kindy! Am I right?!? It means snotty noses, days sick at home, sleepless nights, the potential of other family members to catch the virus and all around fun-times in the household.
What is our immune system?
Our immune system is pretty cool. The best way to describe how it works is to get you to think of the game Pacman. Think of virus cells as the little dots dotted around the course (your body), Pacman (white blood cells) goes around eating these virus cells. The strength of your immune system and the strength/potency of the virus determine how sick, if at all, you may get.
You may not want to hear this, especially if you are experiencing sick kids at the moment but when you catch a virus it actually helps to strengthen your immune system.
In short, when you get sick your body creates cells that recognise the strain for future “attacks”, so it is able to battle the virus quicker, thus reducing your sick time. This phase is like when Pacman eats those energiser dots and you speed through the course eating all the other dots.
Simple ways to support immunity
- We all need to play in the dirt more. Crazy as it sounds, especially since you’re most likely doing the washing too. But we’re so caught up in disinfecting everything, especially our hands all the time. We aren’t naturally interacting with viruses everyday, so when one does take hold it really knocks you down.
- Eat more fruits, vegetables nuts and seeds. Variety is the spice of life right? Yet we don’t experiment with food. The wide variety of nutrients we get from food is essential for a strong immune system.
- Eat Vitamin-C rich foods. Vitamin-C is a powerful antioxidant, think of it like a mop that comes and sweeps up. Oranges do not provide the most vitamin-C but if you enjoy them keep eating them, other great sources include, red capsicum, kiwi fruit, papaya, broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberries and cauliflower.
- Eat Zinc rich foods. Zinc is so important in immunity, specifically for the normal development and function of the immune cells. Beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and lentils are all great sources.
- Get your garlic breath on. I love garlic and can eat a whole baked clove from a roast. But aside from the taste, garlic is antimicrobial and great for supporting immunity.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol totally alters the bacteria within our gastrointestinal system. This delicate balance of bacteria is the first line defence against a virus. A weak gut, equals a weak immune system.
- Get more sun. Australia is the sunburnt country, so because of that we all slip, slop, slap a little too much and we have low Vitamin-D. Vitamin D plays an important role in our immune health by maintaining our tolerance and protective immunity. 20mins per day, without sunscreen is all we need.
- Yes. I want you to rest. Rest when you’re sick. Rest when you’re run down. There is no power in constantly being exhausted and on the daily grind.
When possible, try to avoid giving or taking any medication/paracetamol immediately. Allow your body to fight the virus as much as possible. If you of your family are constantly experiencing bouts of sickness, it might be time to see your local nutritionist to investigate ways to strengthen and support immunity.
Until next time… x
Written by Jessica Worth, Nutritionist, Sydney, Mona Vale.
Jess loves to help women feel amazing, because if the matriarch falls the whole kingdom comes crashing down. If you want to feel amazing, get in contact.