Here are five easy steps you can take now to support a healthy immune system:
- Load up on fruit and veg – aim for at least five portions a day and pick a rainbow selection of colours to get a good range of nutrients.
- Have a clove or two of garlic a day – this is naturally anti-viral and anti-bacterial.
- Eat sufficient protein – aim for lean (preferably) organic meat, fish, game, quinoa (a South American grain), eggs, pulses combined with grains, dairy foods or tofu.
- Herbs and spices contain immune-supporting nutrients – for example, add turmeric to rice; grate ginger into stir fries or on to vegetables; make tea from the Cat’s Claw herb; add aloe vera to drinks.
- Avoid sugar – it can suppress the immune system.
THE IMMUNE POWER DIET
- Reduce ‘bad’ fats and increase ‘good’ fats: The ideal immune-boosting diet is, in essence, no different from the ideal diet for anyone. Since immune cells are produced rapidly during an infection, sufficient protein is essential. Eating the right kinds of fats is important too. Diets high in saturated (processed meat like burgers and sausages, dairy) or hydrogenated fat (biscuits and cakes) suppress immunity and clogs up the system, while essential fats – found in oily fish, nuts and seeds – boost immune function.
- Avoid meat, dairy and eggs: If you have an infection that increases mucus production (eg a cold), it is best to avoid meat, dairy produce and eggs – these foods tend to stimulate more mucus.
- Eat fresh fruit and vegetables: To ensure you get plenty of immune-boosting nutrients, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Good sources include carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and bean sprouts, plus watermelon and berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc – you can buy these frozen when they are not in season).
- Raw foods: Eat what you can raw, and lightly steam the rest. Avoid frying anything as this introduces harmful free radicals that increase your toxic load.
- Avoid sugar: Sugar is not good news at the best of times, but studies show that it can actually depress immune activity, so avoid any forms if you are fighting an infection. Also avoid refined grains (which quickly digest down to sugar and contain few nutrients), instead opting for wholegrains (oats, rye bread, brown rice etc).
To keep your immune system fighting fit, I recommend you take:
- A high-strength multi vitamin and mineral complex.
- An antioxidant formula containing vitamin C, zinc and immune-boosting phytonutrients such as black elderberry and ginger.
- Extra vitamin D – I recommend supplementing 15mcg a day all year round, plus eating dietary sources such as oily fish and eggs. Together with half an hour of sun exposure in the summer, this will give you 30mcg a day. But, during the winter months, in the absence of sun, you need to take more. I take an extra 10mcg a day, or four drops of Biocare’s liquid vitamin D.
- To ward off a cold, vitamin C can be very effective. I take 3 grams immediately, followed by 1 gram an hour, together with other supporting nutrients such as zinc, ginger and black elderberry.
Read the book Boost Your Immune System
For a personalised diet to help boost your immunity try our online 100% Health Programme. You can order supplements online from Totally Nourish. Members of the 100% Health Club areentitled to special discounts.