The global pandemic of COVID-19 has put the spotlight on the importance of a healthy immune system. So, what is your first step to improving immunity?
Eating immune-supporting foods!
A wholefood, mainly plant-based diet of 80% fruit and vegetables is ideal. Consuming a diversity and variety of plant foods is a sure way to improve your immunity.
While many of us are spending more time at home, there is no time like the present to eat more home-prepared whole foods. Whole foods are real foods which are not processed.
Processed, packaged foods or convenience foods are full of chemicals which could cause gut inflammation. A healthy gut is important for good immunity.
Specific Healthy Foods
Dr Joel Furhman recommends G-BOMBS as the healthiest, anti-cancer foods to eat daily.
Greens which provide essential phytonutrients such as folate, calcium and antioxidants. Spinach, kale, broccoli, bok choy, brussel sprout are examples. You may cook them, use them in salads or into smoothies.
Beans, lentils and peas. These high fibre foods help with your digestion and gut microbiome.
Onions including related vegetables - shallots, leeks, garlic and chives. These compounds are full of organosulphur compounds and have known benefits for immunity.
Mushrooms (cooked) are considered to be a superfood. All varieties have been shown to have a beneficial effect on the immune system as well as anti-inflammatory activity.
Berries have such plentiful antioxidant content that reduces inflammation, prevents DNA damage and stimulates the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.
Seeds and nuts like chia, flax, walnuts and almonds are full of healthy omega 3 fats. They also provide micronutrients like Vit E, iron, zinc and calcium.
Your body requires optimal levels of micronutrients for effective immune function through every stage of life. As the name implies, you only need a small amount of each micronutrient. Failing to get even small amounts virtually guarantees disease.
The elderly are especially vulnerable because they have relatively weaker immune systems. Not only do many suffer from health issues, they often do not have an adequate intake of the essential nutrients.
However, if you eat a lot of processed foods, then chances are you will be more deficient in micronutrients as well. Ideally, micronutrients should be derived from your foods, but if not, you could take vitamin supplements.
Those that are critical for immune function are:
Vitamin A - from orange and yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkin.
Vitamin C - found in many plant foods, but especially oranges, broccoli, melons and strawberries
Vitamin E - from butternut squash, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and broccoli
B vitamins - from citrus fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, avocado, bananas, spinach, broccoli
Folate - from leafy green vegetables, spinach, kale, broccoli, avocado, oranges and bananas.
Iron - found in tofu, beans, lentils, cashews, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas.
Zinc - this nutrient, in particular, supports immune function. Excellent sources are from oatmeal, tofu, cashews, sunflower seeds, peanuts, lentils and chickpeas.
Selenium - the best source is from Brazil nuts.
If eating a plant-based diet does not come easy to you, you may wonder how you even begin?
Take it little by little, increasing the percentage of vegetables and fruit in your diet one meal at a time. Then you could maybe work your way up to "Meatless Mondays".
Experiment with delicious recipes to see which plant foods appeal to your taste buds. Once you start enjoying it, you will find it easier to include more in your diet.
Challenge yourself to try new vegetables and fruits that you have never tried before. Diversity is important to get the array of nutrients into your body.
The "S" Eating Plan
Blend the vegetables, fruits, seeds into a delicious smoothie. Fresh greens such as spinach or kale can be the base. Add in fresh or frozen fruit for a little bit of sweetness if you choose. Then flax seeds or chia seeds or nut butter for a nutrient-packed smoothie. You can even add the contents of Santivia Immune capsules in for the ultimate healthy-promoting smoothie!
Put your favourite greens, like romaine, spinach, rocket or kale into a large bowl. Add some cooked and cooled beans or rinsed canned beans such as chickpeas and handful of nuts and seeds.
A simple, homemade balsamic and olive dressing will keep the salad light and fresh, or miso ginger dressing for as Asian taste.
Make a hearty soup with beans, lentils, split peas, tofu or tempeh and tons of veggies. Spice it up with your favourite flavours like mint, smoked paprika and chilli.
A stew of curried vegetables is a great way to have a delicious combination of vegetables. Lentils and even tofu also go nicely into curries.Share this post with someone you needs to improve their immunity!