Boosting your Immune System

Beat those bugs this spring by boosting your diet to boost your immune system.
The top 3 ways your diet can help. It’s easier than you think!

Its March and spring should be in the air buts its not yet and with the latest media reports lets look at our diet by boosting vitamins and minerals that are known for their immune system support.
1. Vitamin C is a great aid to reducing the severity and duration of a cold but do we take enough in our daily diet? Don’t just think oranges, there are many foods richer in vitamin C than oranges.
Let’s add some vitamin C rich foods to all meals and snacks to help prevent the virus  in the first place.
• 1 Kiwi and handful of berries for breakfast or a snack.
• Handful of peppers in a lunchtime salad or kids lunchbox.
• 1 cup of broccoli at dinner time.

Supplements are great and have their place but when you get your vitamin C in a food you also get the added benefits of fibre and other vitamins. Fibre is benefiting your immune system by feeding the good gut bacteria and 70% of our immune system is in our gut. 1 kiwi a day is more than the RDA of vitamin C and almost 3 g of fibre.
2. Zinc is another important element in immune system support, it is an essential trace element involved in many reactions in the body from immune support to fertility. It acts like an antoxidant so can fight off free radical damage in the body. Best sources include protein rich food like lean meats and eggs, beans and nuts. Absorption is best from meats and diary as plant based sources have anti nutrients called phytates that inhibit absorption. Vegetarians and vegans should soak nuts and seeds to aid absorption of zinc.
Research has shown that zinc can reduce mucus and nasal build up, common with colds and viruses.
Sources in the daily diet include:
• Pumpkin seeds at breakfast or as a snack
• Chickpeas in a salad, soup or hummus.
• Lamb, beef, seafood at dinner.

3. Vitamin D is now well known for its immune support and deficiency has been associated with increased risk of the flu virus, our main source is the sun with only a small amount in our diet so this is one nutrient that I do recommend to supplement with. Get your levels checked and supplement to boost levels.
Sources in the daily diet include oily fish like salmon, eggs and fortified foods like some diary products.