27 Apr How to Support our Immune System
Our immune system is our defence against infection and illness. It has the crucial job of keeping us healthy, so now is a great time to check in with how we can support it!
Above all else, keep up with hand hygiene and maintain social distancing of 1.5m.
Eat the Rainbow
Fruits and vegetables are a key part of a healthy diet. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants, that play a key role in supporting our immune system. Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of fibre, which helps keep our gut healthy.
Variety is key when eating fruits and vegetables, this allows us to enjoy the range of vitamins and minerals they each provide, as well as all the great flavours!
Aim to have at least half a plate at lunch and dinner made up of vegetables, all the colours will make your plate look delicious.
Get Outside Everyday
Sun exposure provides us Vitamin D, which plays an important role in our immune system. About 30 minutes outside this time of year will give your body what it needs. This can be anything from going on a walk around the block, reading a book, doing gardening, or having a cup of tea.
Alternatively, small amounts of Vitamin D can be found in eggs, mushrooms, and fortified milks.
Eating good quality protein sources at each meal and snack throughout the day helps us maintain our muscle mass, keeps us full, and they contain other key nutrients. A couple of these include zinc (red meat, poultry, beans, nuts) and iron (red meat, fish, tofu, beans), both of which support our immune systems.
Oily fish, such as salmon, contains Omega-3, an essential fatty acid. Omega-3 cannot be made by the body, but it plays a role in assisting your immune system in functioning, therefore we need to consume it.
Fresh, canned, and frozen varieties are all great. Aim for 2-3 serves a week, which can be part of a meal or snack.
Nuts are full of nutrients such as Vitamin E, protein, and healthy fats; plus, they taste delicious! They make a great snack option or can be sprinkled over a salad for a crunch.
Keep in mind that nuts are typically quite energy dense, so we only need a small handful at a time.
While we sleep, our body is busy doing the majority of growth and repair we need, which includes producing immune cells. Put simply, our immune system is unable to function at full capacity if our body is fatigued. The amount of sleep each individual needs will vary, but aim for 7-8 hours a night.
Wholegrain carbohydrates, such as multigrain bread or wraps, brown rice, wholegrain pasta, or oats, are a key part of a healthy diet. Carbohydrates are our body’s preferred source of energy. In fact, our brain and red blood cells depend on carbohydrates to function.
Wholegrain varieties also contain additional fibre, which keeps our gut healthy. Be sure to also increase your water intake if you increase your fibre intake.
Water is essential in keeping your body functioning at its best. You’re not alone if you’ve noticed that you’re drinking less while working from home.
Typically, we need about 2 – 2.5L a day. Finish a glass with every meal or snack and also keep a glass or bottle with you throughout the day and fill it up whenever you notice it is empty.
Despite the growing range of expensive products, potions, and powders advertising extensive health benefits, there are plenty of natural and simple ways to effectively support your immune system!
For more personalised advice, our dietitian Alex is available for virtual appointments on Monday mornings and Tuesday afternoons. You can book HERE.