The immune system is under constant attack in our daily lives, and colds and flus peak in February.
But a healthy immune system can rise to the occasion and battle against viral and bacterial infections.
There are numerous contributing factors to a less than optimal immune system that can be avoided.
As well, there is an abundance of immune-boosting tips that can be done in order to keep your health at optimal levels.
Causes of low immunity:
• diets high in saturated or hydrogenated fat;
• high sugary foods – four grams of sugar is the equivalent of one teaspoon of sugar, one teaspoon of sugar lowers the immune system for hours
• nutrient deficiencies;
• poor flora (‘good bacteria’) in the gut;
• lack of fruit and vegetables;
• lack of essential fatty acids such as fish and flax seeds;
• excessive alcohol, drugs or smoking;
• chemical pollutants;
• lack of sleep.
Symptoms of low immunity:
• allergies and food sensitivities;
• feeling tired all the time;
• frequent colds or flus;
• sore throats;
• swollen glands;
• aching muscles.
Top 10 immune boosting tips:
• Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Good sources include carrots, beetroot, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, sprouts, tomatoes and broccoli, plus watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. Eat what you can raw, and lightly steam the rest.
• Ensure your diet is high in good quality protein such as organic chicken, wild fish, quinoa, organic free range eggs, legumes or tofu. The body needs more protein when it is under attack.
• Eat essential fats in the form of oily fish such as salmon, trout and tuna.
Try raw nuts and seeds as a snack as these fats are essential for boosting immune function. Use organic coconut oil for cooking.
• Consume whole grains in the diet such as brown rice, oats, buckwheat, quinoa and millet.
• Eat freshly made soups loaded with veggies, garlic and onions. They are easy to digest and contain an abundance of nutrients and immune boosters.
• Try fresh vegetable juices such as carrot, apple and ginger. These provide a powerhouse of vitamins A and C, which are key for nourishing the immune system.
• Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white bread, biscuits, cakes, processed cookies as sugar depresses the immune system.
• Reduce your intake of saturated fats such as red meat, full dairy produce, including milk, cheese, ice cream. These all also suppress the immune system.
• Reduce your intake of caffeine and alcohol, which deplete the immune boosting nutrients and are a burden on immune function.
Avoid all processed foods such as ready meals, luncheon meats and convenience foods, as these are full of nutrient robbers.
Dr. Cobi Slater of Essential Health Natural Wellness Clinic is a Doctor of Natural Medicine, Clinical Herbal Therapist and Registered Nutritionist with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences.