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Strengthening Immunity: Tips and Tricks

The human body is home to an incredibly complex and intricate network of defence mechanisms that work tirelessly to ward off harmful elements. The immune system is the body's natural defense mechanism against harmful viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. And now more than ever, it's important to strengthen our immunity to keep our body healthy and ward off any possible infections. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to boost your body's natural defenses to keep yourself safe and healthy. In this blog post, we will be discussing tips and tricks to strengthen your immunity.


Eat a Balanced Diet


The first step to building a good immune system is to eat a balanced, healthy diet. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins contain essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for optimal health. Consumption of vitamins A, C, and E, selenium, beta-carotene, zinc, and iron help to boost immunity. Additionally, avoid consuming excessive amounts of sugar and saturated fats, which can weaken the immune system.


Stay Hydrated


Staying hydrated is crucial for sustaining a healthy immune system. Water helps to flush out toxins and maintain the balance of body fluids. Drinking enough water is necessary to keep your body functioning optimally. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily and add some lemon to it as it is a great source of Vitamin C.


Get Enough Sleep


Sleep is vital for good health, but it is also essential for a strong immune system. Sleep deprivation can reduce the body's natural immune response, making it vulnerable to infections. Adults need at least seven hours of sleep daily, while children need an average of 10-14 hours of sleep.


Exercise Regularly


Regular physical activity helps to boost both physical and mental health and keep your immune system strong. Exercise helps to increase blood and oxygen flow, supporting the organs that fight against infections. You don't have to spend a lot of time exercising daily; even just 30 minutes of physical activity can work wonders.


Reduce Stress


Stress weakens the immune system and is harmful to your overall health. High-stress levels reduce the body's natural defences against illness and make you more susceptible to diseases. Engage in activities that can help you relax, such as yoga, meditation or deep breathing exercises.


Increase your antioxidants

Want to bulletproof your immunity? You need to stockpile those natural antioxidants (and not just the packets and tins of pulses!). When you supercharge this “antioxidant potential” you give your immune system a real boost. And, if you’re wondering ‘where have I heard about antioxidants before?’ they’re the things skincare companies tell you their anti-ageing moisturisers are full of so double win.



Why are antioxidants important?

Viruses and bacteria produce oxidants, which are reactive forms of oxygen that damage cells and age you faster. Simply, they are bad news. We’re also getting our fill of oxidants from eating chargrilled/ blackened foods or breathing polluted air, and maybe you’ve had a less than great diet over the years. Where you can end up is a situation in which you have too many oxidants and not enough antioxidants.

Revving up your antioxidant status at times like these is a really good idea. While vitamin C seems to get all the praise when it comes to immunity, there’s another molecule that is the under-recognised supporting actor who deserves the starring role – glutathione.


Glutathione – the master antioxidant

Glutathione is one of the most important molecules in the body – almost like a magic elixir of health. Too little of it and you’re at risk of developing one of the most feared health conditions facing us today, including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.

If you’ve got good enough levels, that’s where the gold is…

But when levels are adequate or high, that’s when the magic happens. You’ll not only have protection from the conditions above, but you’ll have amazing energy, glowing skin, healthy detoxification, strong heart and brain function, and possibly even a longer life!

Glutathione is made up of three amino acids called cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid (or glutamate). It’s often called the “master” antioxidant because it helps recycle all the other antioxidants in your body like vitamins C and E, as well as alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10.

Research show glutathione primes the white blood cells of the immune system and helps them produce more infection-fighting substances so they can control both bacterial and viral infections.


Foods to increase glutathione

Eating the right foods to naturally increase glutathione will help keep you fighting fit. There are a small number of foods that naturally contain glutathione. These include asparagus, avocado, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, garlic, chives, tomatoes, cucumber, almonds, and walnuts.

Some other foods contain the building blocks needed to make glutathione (they are the pre-cursors – the warm-up act); the foods containing cysteine and other sulphur-containing foods, and selenium.

Good foods to choose are onions, spring onions, shallots, leeks, kale, bok choy, rocket, spring greens, watercress, radishes. Some spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and cardamom - have compounds that can also help to restore healthy levels of glutathione and its antioxidant enzymes.


Alpha Lipoic Acid – glutathione’s reloader

Alpha lipoic acid (also called ALA) is a critical co-enzyme that helps to recycle many antioxidants, including vitamin C, E and also glutathione. It is well known for its anti-ageing effects on our cell’s energy factories, the mitochondria.

Good food sources of alpha lipoic acid include: • Organ meats • Beef • Brewer’s yeast • Broccoli • Spinach • Brussels sprouts • Peas • Tomatoes

Selenium – building block of antioxidants

Selenium is an important trace mineral that is key in the production of glutathione (it also happens to be great for thyroid function so if yours is a little off, consider getting more of this antioxidant a double win). Good dietary sources of selenium include: • Seafood • Oysters • Brazil nuts • Eggs • Mushrooms • Whole grains • Organ meats • Dairy products


Why you need to get in more broccoli

In a pub quiz about food, broccoli would almost certainly be the answer. Why? Because it’s one of nature’s real superfoods. You’ll often find me extolling the virtues of these little trees in relation to women’s health, where it is an excellent detoxifier of oestrogen. When it comes to boosting immunity, broccoli has good levels of antioxidants sulforaphane, lutein and zeaxanthin, which fight disease. It’s also packed with vitamin C, which is undoubtedly an important nutrient for immune function as well as all the vitamin K you’ll need in a day, and decent amounts of folate, vitamin A, potassium, phosphorous and selenium



Does it matter if I have to buy frozen veg?

I’m often asked this question in clinic. In short, the answer is no. It might even be the case that frozen veg actually contains more nutrients than fresh. This is because, once harvested, vegetables start to lose nutrients and antioxidants. Frozen vegetables are usually 'snap frozen'. This is a pretty instant freezing process that preserves nutrients. When cooked there's been minimal loss of nutrients.


Conclusion

As we have discussed above, your immune system plays a vital role in your overall health. Keeping it strong is important for preventing diseases, fighting infections, and living a healthy life. By eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and reducing stress levels, you can strengthen your immunity and stay healthy. Investing in your health today will pay off in the future, and keeping a healthy immune system is one way to do so. Remember, taking small steps towards better health every day can lead to a healthier and happier life.

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