When thinking about supporting your immune system, it's better to target the whole body. Whilst we are in this vitally important lock down, re-setting your diet may be one of the best things you ever do for your health and the health of the environment.
Reducing inflammation is vital in supporting a healthier immune system. “Cleaning” up your diet is really about removing foods and substances from you diet that can create an overload of inflammation.
When you eat a food in large amounts every day like wheat, meat, refined sugars, junk foods and dairy – it can make the immune system over respond causing inflammation. Viruses that cause colds and flu create even more inflammation as the body’s immune system releases cytokines to kill the pathogen. It’s the inflammation that makes you feel so ill and can cause complications.
There are two ways to support your immune function 1. Make sure it has all the nutrients it needs to function correctly and 2. Remove (or drastically reduce) those foods and substances that cause inflammation.
Reducing excess animal protein reduces metabolic by products that increase inflammation. So if you usually eat a whole chicken breast only use a third or maximum half the breast and pad the meal out with fresh veg, gluten free grains and pulses, a whole steak is shared between 2-3 people. it's not only healthier for you but for the environment.
There are certain foods that boost and support the immune system here are some examples and ideas for foods to add to your diet:
Home-made anti-inflammatory & immune boosting shots & tonics
1 cap of apple cider vinegar
3 caps of water
Half teaspoon of turmeric
Squeeze lemon or lime (or splash orange juice if don’t have that)
Fresh squeezed ginger (can use a garlic press) or pinch of powdered ginger
(Note: Avoid turmeric if you are anaemic )
2 Hot Tonic
Fresh ginger juice or powder
Hot filtered water
Green powder (spirulina, barley grass or other)
Ad this immune supportive nutrition booster to any of your smoothies:
Lemon/lime peel, fresh ginger, thyme, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds,
Ad these immune supportive boosters to any of your soups:
Garlic powder, turmeric, shiitake mushroom, lemongrass, ground pumpkin seeds.
(Great in chicken, mushroom or vegetable soup)
Immune supportive oils (to drizzle)
1. Infused with: Garlic, rosemary, chili – use fresh cut rosemary, crushed garlic and fresh chili
2. Infused with: Lemon, Lime, thyme – use Fresh lemon and lime peel, not juice, fresh cut thyme
Fill a small jar or bottle with the ingredients and pour the olive oil over. Leave for a 3-7 days, the longer the better.
Immune supportive water
Use filtered water and add:
1. Thyme, orange peel
2. Rosemary and lemon peel
3. Lemon grass and fresh ginger
Protect lungs - This is vitally important in fighting all respiratory diseases.
You can make sure that your mouth is a hostile environment for viruses, if the virus gets past and into the throat it can get into the lungs. You can use herbal tincture, anti-viral lozenges, or chew things like cardamom pods. Cinnamon is antiviral and great in a tea. Lots of hot drinks to constantly flush away the virus and other microbes into the stomach.
Increase lung capacity:
Focus on breathing deeply into the abdomen breathing up into the ribcage and all the way to crown of the head, your exhalation is slow and long pushing all the air out of the lungs. Repeat this 10 x try to do it as often as you remember throughout the day. I stick little dots on my phone or desktop, fridge etc. to remind me to breeeeeeaaaaath.........
Go for a walk as you do be conscious of the above deep breathing – take this opportunity to not chat on phone as this causes shallow breathing.
Do exercises that 'open the chest' - clasp hands behine you, do a bridge, use a roller or a cushion to help create open space in the ribcage and help create more flexibility to enable deeper breathing.
Create better health in the gut as this is where 85% of your immune cells are found including your vital beneficial bacteria. For more info on gut health click here