I often like to think of our health as our grow bag.
Our grow bag is our soil, that determines how strong our roots are, and ensures that we thrive and bloom. The grow bag consists of genetic, psychological, neurological, nutritional, hormonal and environmental factors. And as you may have guessed — our Immune system is very much rooted in our soil. Without healthy soil, it doesn’t function the way it’s designed to.
The Immune system is an interactive network of organs, cells and proteins that protect the body from viruses and bacteria, or any other foreign substances. Its primary role is to DEFEND and REPAIR. Many conditions are dependant on the health and integrity of the Immune system, and the best approach to supporting the immune function is a comprehensive plan involving lifestyle, stress management, exercise, diet, nutritional supplementation, and the use of plant-based medicines.
Let's take a look at some of the things we can do to support our Immune system in both our daily life and critical times.
1. Healthy Gut
Although the Immune system is made up of many organs, over 60% of our Immune cells are located in our Gut. And it is of utmost importance to keep our gut healthy and happy. We can do this by ensuring we get lots of fibre, and eat lots of whole grains, vegetables and fruits. We need an abundance of different microorganisms in order to thrive. Whether you adopt the approach of ‘Eating a rainbow’ or simply focus on decreasing you’re snacking and processed foods, and increasing seasonal foods and whole foods, your Gut will thank you!
Probiotics have the ability to be immune modulators, due to specific strains and their impact on the gut flora. You can invest in a multi-strain probiotic, such as BioCare Everyday Bio Acidophilus.
2. Vital nutrients
Zinc, Vitamin D, C, Omega 3. These are some of the nutrients, which are present in many immune reactions and are needed by the body to defend.
Zinc — you can ensure you are getting enough of these by eating organic meat and fish, and if you are following a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can get zinc from sunflower seeds, lentils, cashews, tofu.
Vitamin D — 80% of the British public is deficient in this essential vitamin, which stimulates over 2000 gene expressions. Our body makes a lot of Vitamin D by itself as it converts sunshine into chemicals the body can use. Mushrooms are a wonderful source of vitamin D, and they are also immune-modulators. You can choose from an abundance of mushrooms such as closed cup, chestnut, shiitake, oyster mushrooms and many more.
Vitamin C — is a protective vitamin, it has antioxidant activity, is an immune system modulator and is cell-protective. Most fruit and veggies have some vitamin C, with citrus fruits, kiwis, mangoes, broccoli, and strawberries coming out on top.
Omega 3’s — essential fatty acids that support healthy cognitive function, joint health, and is vital in supporting a healthy response to inflammation. Sources are — fatty fish S.M.A.S.H (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring). Make sure to buy sustainably farmed or wild fish to guarantee the quality. Plant sources are in seeds — chia, flax, hemp, also in avocados and beans.
3. Herbs to Support Immunity
Turmeric — anti-inflammatory
Elderberry — anti-oxidant
Garlic — anti-viral, natural antibiotic
Ginger — anti-inflammatory, natural painkiller
Ginseng — anti-microbial, immune regulators
Oregano — anti-inflammatory, natural antibiotic
The more we support our body with its functions, the more we can relish in a healthy and strong immunity system, which in turn will do our best to serve and protect us from bugs and viruses.