By Health Coach, Suzy Glaskie
All of us want a healthy immune system – after all, it’s the bit of us that’s designed to fight off illness and viruses! Unfortunately, though, our modern lifestyles mean that the immune system can get worn down over time – for example by stress or a junk food diet – leaving us much more vulnerable to illness.
The good news is that there are lots of ways that we can give our immune system a helping hand to do its job properly – for example, getting a good night’s sleep, managing our stress and getting some daily movement. What we choose to put on our fork is another hugely important way to boost our immune system. Here are a few simple guidelines to eat for your immunity:
Our immune system needs whole foods that are high in nutrients for it to function well. That means going back to real, actual foods (like your grandparents used to eat!) rather than the highly processed stuff that’s pushed at us every time we walk into a supermarket.
Eat your rainbow
Pile your plate with gorgeous, colourful veg that support the immune system – the more colours the better. Make friends with leafy greens and cruciferous veg (e.g. broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower) – you’re bound to find one you like if you play around with different ways of cooking them. I love colourful berries too: I keep frozen blueberries in my freezer and chuck them on Greek yoghurt in the morning, topped with walnuts.
Bring on the spice
I couldn’t imagine not using spices in my cooking – I’d find food really bland without them. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also incredibly good for you.
Fresh garlic, onions and ginger add so much flavour to food and are brilliant for protecting your health – enjoy those delicious wafts around your kitchen, knowing that you’re boosting your health and that of your family. I also keep a jar of health-protecting turmeric right next to my salt and pepper pots by my hob and I chuck a sprinkle in whatever I’m cooking.
Herbs such as oregano and rosemary are also great for your immune system – and happen to be delicious too! They’re both really easy to keep in your garden if you fancy growing them fresh…so you can snip a few leaves to liven up your cooking and reap the health benefits. Start seeing your spice shelf as your medicine drawer and get experimenting.
Hold the sugar!
OK, we all know by now that sugar is not good for us. But did you know that research shows sugar can suppress your immune system for hours after you’ve eaten it? Give your immune system a leg up by limiting your sugar and refined starches. Your body will thank you for it!
Eat to feed your gut
Ever tried fermented foods? If not, now’s the time! They support your gut health and so your immune system, which is mainly based in the gut. Check out different fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, yoghurt (make sure it’s plain, live yoghurt rather than the sweetened stuff) and kefir. You might find the tangy tastes a bit unfamiliar at first… but most people end up loving them. You can find fermented foods quite easily in supermarkets these days as they’ve seen a huge surge in popularity – or try making your own (actually cheaper and easier to do than you might imagine). See video link below for how to make kefir.
Drink your immune-boosters
Sipping on tasty, warming, comforting veggie soups and broths is a lovely way to support your immune system. I’ve included a link to how to make my easy-peasy bone broth below. I also love herbal teas and I often drink ginger and turmeric tea (you can find a great selection of herbal teas in supermarkets). Steer clear of fizzy drinks and make sure you’re regularly drinking water – ditch the cordial though! If you want to add a bit of taste, go for a natural zing from sliced lemon, orange or some fragrant fresh herbs.
My video on making bone broth:
My vlog on making kefir at home (quality of video a bit rubbish!)