The immune system is your body’s natural defense against disease or illness.
For the immune system to function well it requires balance and harmony: getting adequate sleep, maintaining a healthy weight, riding (exercising) regularly and minimizing psychological stress are excellent strategies to achieve this. Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet is also vital, – so what are the best foods to bolster your immune system?
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are important sources of zinc, plant-based protein and vitamin E – all of which are key nutrients necessary to support your immune system. The Fix: include sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts to your diet.
Vitamin A helps protect the mucous membranes in your lungs, nose, mouth and other body organs. These membranes trap bacteria and viruses thereby preventing them from entering into your body. The Fix: eating a mix of dark green and orange vegetables like peppers, carrots, spinach, broccoli and sweet potatoes, which are excellent sources of beta-carotene, will boost your Vitamin A levels.
Vitamin C is a key component of an effective and functional immune system. Reach for polyphenol-rich fruits such as oranges, apples, kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit, lychees, papayas, blueberries, plums, apricots and strawberries to bump up your overall health and Vitamin C intake.
The Importance of Gut Health
Bacteria and other microbes play an essential role in keeping you healthy. The densest population is in your gut where they assist with weight regulation, digestion and your immune system. Your diet can quickly alter the balance of microbes in your gut and impact on your overall health. It is important to eat a wide variety of plant-based foods and fiber-rich fruit, to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut.
| IMAGES: Pexels | SOURCES: Harvard Medical School, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Journal of Clinical Medicine |