Nutrition

Eating for Immunity

Winter is here and with it comes all those nasty germs and bugs that knock you for a six each year, but do they have to?

It's all about immunity and the level of protection that your body has to protect you from infectious disease. Think of your body as an army fighting the war against bacteria, viruses, germs and bugs. In your army your antibodies, antioxidants and good bacteria are your soldiers and if you feed them the right fuel and look after them then they will be fit and healthy and able to fight off any invading bugs. If your soldiers are not fed well and are weak or even dead, then you will have no defence and consequently, germs and bugs entering your body will be able to cause havoc and make you sick.

So how do you build a big army for your healthy immune system?

Your body is constantly fighting against invaders to keep you healthy so the first thing you can do is eliminate or decrease any inflammatory foods from your diet; these are processed foods, all forms of sugar, vegetable oils such as canola, rapeseed, cotton and dairy for most people. At the same time as reducing your intake of inflammatory foods you can increase your antioxidant foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables especially all green vegetables and citrus fruits. You can further decrease inflammation in your body by taking an omega 3 supplement or by consuming oily fish twice a week.

The third part of the immunity story is the most important, gut health. The effectiveness of your immune system depends on how healthy your gut and more importantly how healthy your gut bacteria is. With the over-consumption of processed foods, use of antibiotics, and lack of antioxidants in diets nowadays most people lack healthy gut flora and therefore have a weak or compromised immune system. You can build your gut immunity in 3 steps;

1. Eliminate inflammatory foods

2. Build and repair the gut lining with fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha, greek or coconut yoghurt

3. Take a good quality probiotic to rebuild your healthy gut bacteria.

Most people think that you just get sick in winter but through fueling your body and your defence soldiers known as your immune system right you can stay healthy and thriving this year.

By Kali Brydon BSC Human Nutritionist