It’s that time of year again where bugs are rife. I have already been struck down last week and I know of so many other people who have either had a cold or flu or are on the brink. So, I thought this would be the perfect time to chat about the immune system and what you can do to give it an epic boost.
The immune system is a complex network of specialized tissues, organs, cells, and chemicals that protect the body from “foreign invaders” like bacteria and parasites. The lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, thymus gland, tonsils, and digestive tract are all part of it, as are lymphocytes (specialized white blood cells), antibodies, and interferon. Confused yet? I still get completely overwhelmed by how it all works. Basically, think of Lord of the Rings going on in your body all the time and you get the jist. You want Gandalf to be running the show and you need to give him the army and support he needs to help keep everything in check.
So, in order to give Gandalf what he needs to keep your bodies defences in tact there are some very simple lifestyle and nourishment you can use:-
- Focus on the right fats. Foods with monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, help support optimal immune function.
- Cut down on Sugar – All forms of simple sugar—such as honey, white sugar, agave nectar, brown sugar, and molasses—interfere with white blood cells’ ability to destroy bacteria, so cutting back is one way to give your immune system a boost. Also, balancing your blood sugar levels is vital for health in general.
- Boost probiotics – Probiotics, the healthy “gut bugs” or bacteria in the GI tract, can give your immune function a leg up. That’s because 60 to 70% of your immune function comes from your gut! Mindblowing!! Probiotics basically act as a physical barrier against pathogens. Awesome probiotic foods are yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. Fermented foods basically. Check out Je Tam/Life Kombucha for some epic Cornish produce.
- Elderberry – Boost immune system against flu
- Sage – Inihibits viral replication and bacterial growth
- Beta-Glucans – Increase immune response and can be found in oats and mushrooms
- Lysine – inihibits replication of viruses and increase production of antibodies and other immune cells. Food sources are beef, cheese, nuts, seeds, eggs and many more
- Vitamin A – Suppots immune cell communication and the integrity of mucous membranes (the barrier) – sweet potato, carrots, beef liver, green leafy veg (check out Cornish Harvest for some local produce for Helston and surrounding areas)
- Vitamin C – At high doses can decrease the duration of cold symptoms and increase immune cell function – dark leafy greens, bell peppers, broccoli
- Zinc – Increase immune cell activity specifically in children and the elderly – oysters (you know you eat all them all time!!), spinach, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds and beans
- Vitamin D – enhances the surveillance of the immune system – oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines
So, I hope this helps and gives you some tools in your toolbox and a helping hand to your own, personal Lord of The Rings battleground.