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May 4, 2020

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As winter is fast approaching and we are living in a COVID-19 world, keeping our immune system up has certainly become front of mind in the recent weeks.

While there is certainly no conclusive proof that the food we eat or supplements we take will protect us from infection entirely, it is important to think about ways that we can support and maintain a healthy immune system through our diet.

Eating plenty of immune system boosting ingredients is just one of the steps we can take, along with getting enough sleep and regular exercise. A nutritious diet will always help our bodies maintain a healthy immune system response to anything that comes our way in terms of colds, flu and viruses.

Here are my top 5 immune boosting ingredients:

TUMERIC

Ayurveda (a system of alternative medicine with historical roots in India) has been extolling the benefits of turmeric for hundreds of years and with good reason. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and importantly contains anti-oxidant properties which help boost immunity.

The curcumin in turmeric has been shown to have potent immunomodulatory effects, directly enhancing the immune activity, when exposed to virus’ and pathogens. Its effective anti-oxidant action supports the immune system during times of stress and illness.

Try: To get some turmeric into your day try making a turmeric latte using warm milk, honey and cinnamon and TurmeriX powder or if you prefer supplements you can try TurmeriX capsules.

PREBIOTIC/PROBIOTICS

By now most of us have heard about the benefits of pre and probiotics for gut health, but did you know they also assist in boosting immunity? In fact, 70% of the immune system resides in our gut, so it’s essential to support this system. An abundance of varied strains of bacteria living in our digestive tract provides natural immune support.

Try: Prebiotic foods include, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, unflavoured yoghurts, apple cider vinegar, artichokes, chicory root, garlic, onion, asparagus, dandelion greens, banana and flaxseeds.

VITAMIN C/BIOFLAVONOID CONTAINS FOODS

Arguably the queen of immune boosting ingredients – Vitamin C is our winter go-to for its anti-microbial activity and immune supporting functions.

Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the number of days sick when struck down with a virus, while bioflavonoids enhance the action of Vitamin C and possess anti-oxidant effects.

Although citrus has a high percentage of Vitamin C, I often tell my patients to choose foods high in both Vitamin C and flavonoids. Be sure to eat the pulp and white core of these citrus fruits and veggies for their bioflavonoid benefits.

Try: Red, green or yellow capsicum, sweet potato, kiwifruit, papaya, berries, broccoli and kale.

ZINC

Zinc is the quiet immune boosting achiever that often gets overlooked. Zinc is required for numerous processes in the immune system. If deficient, this may lead to a compromised immune function and increased susceptibility to illness.

Try: Non-processed meat, shellfish, legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans), seeds (hemp, pumpkin, sesame, squash), nuts (cashews, almonds, pine), eggs, whole grains (quinoa, rice, oats).

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

Apple Cider Vinegar is one ingredient that has a lot to give. Not only does it enhance digestion and the assimilation and absorption of nutrients, it also alkalises once digested.

Apple cider vinegar has an antibacterial action, as it supports our lymphatic system to excrete pathogens and viruses swiftly from our body, via its supportive action on our detoxification pathways.

Try: 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in warm water, or combine with olive oil as a salad dressing.

What are your top tips to boost your immune system? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • I tick most of these boxes – moderation also is the way to go.

    Reply

  • Great tips

    Reply

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet is the way to go for me

    Reply

  • Some great tips on the health benefits, thanks for posting!

    Reply

  • I hate the taste of turmeric!
    I don’t mind any of the others but I really can’t stomach turmeric.

    Reply

  • Keeping hydrated and keeping lots of fruit and veggies. Veggie soup in winter is a great way.

    Reply

  • Great tips and glad to know I used most of these anyway

    Reply

  • Great tips !
    I like to use tumeric in a good curry soup. But winner for me are the pre- and probiotics ! Sauerkraut is a big hit here, I’m missing kefir here which I use daily with flaxseed pumpkin seed sesame and nuts and banana. And kombucha too (have a good batch going). For the Zinc group I can recommend to replace all flour with chick pea and lentil flour (even for pancakes, cookies, cakes and anything) then youcover already a lot of your intake

    Reply

  • Thank you for the informative article. Heard a lot about the TurmeriX powders and capsules. Might have to give this a go

    Reply

  • Apart from the apple cider vinegar, I’m impressed that I tick all of the other boxes.

    Reply

  • I am adding garlic, ginger, tumeric,cinnamon,clove black pepper for my everyday cooking.

    Reply

  • Informative article.

    Reply

  • Great article thanks, have shared!

    Reply

  • Garlic is good

    Reply

  • You forgot Garlic….nothing helps to keep illness away like a galic

    Reply

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