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4 Nutrition Tips to Boost your Immune System 

Emma Wylie Nutrition

Registered Nutritionist Emma Wylie shares 4 nutrition tips to boost your immune system

Crisp autumnal 🍂 weather signals the cozy season, but it also signals the flu season 🤧🤒 

Our immune system is essentially our personal defence system to help us fight off nasty colds and flus, and have a speedier recovery to get us back up and moving sooner. 

But, just like every other organ in our body, our immune system needs good amounts of energy and plenty of nutrients to function optimally. The good news is that we can do small things each day to help our immune system function more optimally. 

Here are our top 4 tips to help strengthen your immune system: 

1. Orange plant foods

Kumara, pumpkin, carrots 🥕are all rich in vitamin A, whilst capsicums, oranges, mandarins and grapefruits 🍊 are all superb sources of vitamin C. 

Vitamin A and C and both essential nutrients for supporting our immune system. Our immune cells perform hundreds of processes on a daily basis to keep us fit and healthy, and many of these processes require these nutrients. 

Think of the immune cells as the workers, and vitamin A and C as the equipment they need to do the task. 

The good news is, all of these foods are also in season in Autumn (does nature know 🤔), making them plentiful and more cost effective produce options at this time of year. 

Task: Can you add some orange plant foods into your next grocery basket? 🛒

2. Protein

Protein is important for growing our muscle cells and keeping them strong, but the same goes for our immune cells! 💪

During an infection our body needs to quickly increase the amount of immune cells we have in our body. Protein is a key building block in immune cells, so not having enough protein on hand could mean that our immune system can’t build up quickly enough, resulting in a worse or longer infection.

Great sources of protein include fish 🐟 such as salmon, tuna and white fish, chicken 🍗, red meats, eggs 🍳, tofu, seafood, legumes and protein powders.

We want to be sure we’re including a good portion of protein at every main meal for our immunity, and our overall health.

Task: Take note of your protein intake. Have you got protein in most of your meals?

3. Food flavouring

Although we often think of spices simply as flavour agents, they also pack a nutrient punch 💥 Turmeric is a great spice to add to your cooking this Autumn with its anti-inflammatory action, and cumin seeds have been shown to be beneficial in covid recovery with as it’s rich in zinc and antioxidants. 

Onion and garlic 🧄 are well known remedies for warding off bacteria, viruses and vampires, and for a good reason. These foods contain a sulphur compound that is a potent antioxidant (and potent aroma) and helps support our immune system, they’re also the perfect base for any soup, stew or curry. 

Looking for something sweet? New Zealand honey 🍯 is a great sweetening substitute that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, you could use this if any recipes call for some sweetening.

Task: Try adding some of these flavours to your meal to support your immune system! 

4. Sleep 💤

When someone says immunity, sleep certainly isn’t the first thing that springs to mind, but sleep is one of the most important factors in building a robust immune system, as well as many other areas of health. 

Research shows us that a lack of sleep – less than 7 hours per night – correlates to higher infection rates 🦠 and greater prevalence of short-term illnesses 🤧🤒.  

But how? 

Researchers have found that during sleep, parts of our immune system crank up and immune cells are released into the body and produce some inflammation. Now, this would typically sound like something we would only want if we had an injury or infection, however think of this like a training exercise for the immune system, as what this has shown to do is increase the adaptive immunity, thus creating a stronger army of immune cells. 

Think of sleep as exercise for your immune system to make it stronger! 💪

Task: Let’s do a sleep check! How many hours of sleep are you getting a night? We want to aim for 7-9 hours a night. 

No-Roast Pumpkin Soup with Crispy Chickpeas Recipe

This easy, one-pot Pumpkin soup is the perfect weeknight dinner.
See recipe here>


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