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7 Ways to Support your Immune System with Food

Carol Lee May 2020

Holistic Healing Kuel Category Expert: Carol Lee

Having a strong immune system is on most people’s mind at the moment and making healthy food choices can really make a difference.

All the food I suggest reduces inflammation in the body; inflammation over the long term is what eventually leads to the development of chronic conditions and illness. When we reduce inflammation, we boost our immune system, making us less likely to pick up bugs, and if we do pick them up, more able to recover quickly. None of my recommendations are ‘rocket science’, simply natural, whole food and a mass of colorful fruits and vegetables. Here goes…

1. Eat More Greens
Make sure you eat greens everyday; salad leaves, brassicas such as cabbage, kale and cauliflower, peas are great from the freezer. Here are a few ideas…

  • Use Spring green leaves, collards or lettuce leaves to make a wrap instead of bread.
  • Start the day with a green smoothie; use cucumber, lettuce, spinach, kale…add some lime juice or other citrus to cut through the ‘greeness’ if you find it a little unpalatable.
  • Explore seaweeds; Nori sheets are yummy and great for using up leftovers instead of bread and wraps.
  • Get sprouting, grow your own micro-greens and tap into these power packs of energy.

“colorful fruit and vegetables are high in immune boosting nutrients”

2. Add-in Color
All colorful fruit and vegetables are high in immune boosting nutrients. Here are some pointers…

  • Citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C, also red pepper.
  • Aim to eat two to three fruits and at least five portions of vegetables, all different colors. A portion is the same size as your cupped hand.
  • Enjoy berries and keep some frozen berries in the freezer, purple and red hues have delicious, nutritious immune boosting qualities.
  • Enjoy snacking on humus with some carrots, broccoli ,and red pepper sticks, or an apple topped with almond butter.

3. Enjoy More Raw Food
The energy and vitality, from raw fruit and vegetables, can really support our immune system. When food is raw, the enzymes and nutrients have not been diminished through heating or processing. I believe that for a diet to be ‘A1’super-duper healthy’, some raw fruit and vegetables need to be eaten everyday.
Here are some ways to include raw food…

  • Raw juices and smoothies are a great way of boosting your raw vegetable and fruit quota; remember though to enjoy more vegetables than fruit in a 3:1 ratio.
  • Enjoy a huge green salad with your main meal and add in grated different colored veggies as part of it. Experiment with vegetables like celeriac, parsnip, turnip, beetroot and ginger.
  • Use large lettuce leaves to make a wrap and fill with leftovers.
  • Try sprouting seeds, these are super nutritious, easy to do and very tasty

4. Support Your Gut Health
Did you know 80% of your immune system is in your gut! So nourish it well. Here’s how…

  • Eat plenty of prebiotic food, these feed the healthy bacteria in our gut and so boost our immune system. Prebiotic food includes; garlic, onions, leeks, under-ripe bananas, whole barley, lentils, beans, apples, and oats. Have some of these veggies everyday to keep your healthy bacteria well fed.
  • Consider eating cultured vegetables such as sauerkraut, they are teaming with healthy probiotic bacteria and much cheaper than taking probiotic capsules.

“our immune system is suppressed for several hours after eating processed sugar”

5. Keep away from Processed Sugar and Carbohydrates
Research has shown that our immune system is suppressed for several hours after eating processed sugar and carbohydrates so…

  • Keep simple processed sugar and carbohydrates to a minimum including syrups such as maple syrup, agave syrup and flour products such as bread.
  • Get your sweet treats from fruit, enjoying two to three whole portions a day.
  • Some good quality honeys, such as Manuka have immune boosting properties. Use these in a medicinal way, such as in hot water with lemon and ginger if you need to soothe symptoms.

6. Chicken Soup, Not Just For The Soul!
Protein is essential for growth and repair, hence the iconic chicken soup when we are poorly. You can…

  • Get protein from non-processed good quality meat, oily fish, beans and legumes.
  • Make meat broths from carcass meat for soups and stocks. One of my favorite things to do is to simmer a ‘finished with’ chicken carcass with some chopped onions and carrots for at least four hours, strain well into another pot and pick out the bones (look out for tiny ones as well) and then use this as a base for a wonderfully nourishing chicken soup

7. Spicy Advice!
Turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, and garlic are great natural immune supporters. So, add fresh ginger and cinnamon to your porridge, spice-up your soups and stews with garlic and cayenne. Enjoy experimenting with cinnamon and ginger based herbal teas, they are really delicious!

Have a go at adding in some of these elements and get ready to feel the benefit! 

 

About the Author:
Carol Lee is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist, Sugar-freedom coach, Creative Kinesiologist, Teacher and Author from the U.K. She has been working in Complementary Health for over 25 years. Her holistic approach to healing and transformation is about listening to, witnessing and working with the body’s ‘knowing’. Carol believes this is where we hold our wisdom, experience and capacity for change, especially as mid-life women. She works with women wanting to kick the sugar habit, those who are navigating health challenges, or who are wanting to up-level their life in some way; helping them to clear the blocks to success and wellbeing. She is currently enjoying her empty nest, and the freedom it brings, with her partner Jon. She loves the coast and walking the wild landscape of South West UK, snuggling her sweet rescue cat Stevie, gardening and eating delicious, nutritious food.

One thought on “7 Ways to Support your Immune System with Food

  1. Cynthia Myer says:

    Great information!

    As I deal with rheumatoid athiritis, anti-inflammatory diets staple in my life.

    There are some good tips here that I have not explored before! Thank you!

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