Words Nadia Felsch, Wholefoods Expert at Body Beyond Birth, www.bodybeyondbirth.com
As the outside temperature drops, viruses run rife and our bodies require a different kind of attention than in the warmer months. It doesn’t need to be difficult however and with some small adjustments and awareness, you can give your immune system the very best chance to protect you through winter.
ENJOY THE RAINBOW
This is the most crucial step to preparing your immune system for winter and given that we eat several times a day, it’s also the simplest. By eating wholefoods such as quality animal protein, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds as well as loads of fresh fruit and vegetables, you’re providing your body with the countless nutrients that it uses to thrive and protect you. Key nutrients that your body seeks to prepare the immune system are Omega 3’s, the minerals selenium and zinc as well as vitamins A, C, D and E, all of which are readily found in a wholefoods-rich diet.
CROWD OUT THE REST
Enjoy delicious meals made from wholefoods and lose the processed everything else – crowd them out with so much deliciousness that you don’t even notice anything is missing. That includes artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, processed meats and baked goods, fried foods and soft drinks; processed and packaged food-like items that have moved away from how nature made it. We’re not designed to eat that way and as well as causing a myriad of issues for our bodies, they suppress our immune systems, weakening them and making them more susceptible to illness.
IT STARTS AND ENDS IN THE GUT
Around 80% of our immune system is located in our gut. So that’s a pretty good reason to take some action. Good gut health equals a strong immune system and probiotics, as well as offering a detoxifying effect, providing us with a defense shield. This good bacteria that our bodies thrive on is found in both whole and fermented foods, such as raw sauerkraut, miso, yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha and microalgae, or in the form of supplements.
By cooking with and using naturally occurring spices, you access their natural antioxidant properties and in turn prepare your immune system. The top options are onions, garlic, ginger, black peppercorn, cayenne pepper, allspice, and of course turmeric.
TO THE POWER OF C
In preparation as prevention and also as a natural remedy, Vitamin C is a serious powerhouse for the immune system. The simplest way is to add a slice of lemon to your water, which will provide you with extra vitamin C. It can also be used in conjunction with natural healers, ginger and echinacea in warm water when you start to feel less than ideal. Also in place of antibiotics; the enemy of our gut health.
Water could be considered the elixir of life and consuming it often, is one of the best things you can do for your health. It offers detoxification, hydrations and in this case specifically, it assists in the production of lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells.