The human body is a fascinating organism. It constantly works hard to produce and repair cells, defend against illness and disease, remove waste, process the nutrients we put into it (and the not-so-nutritious content we consume), enables you to reproduce, and basically live each day to the best of your physical ability.
It isn’t until there’s a kink in the chain and something goes wrong that we really appreciate the value of our health. From personal experience, I was not prepared for the length of time my recovery would take after I had pleurisy. I tried thinking of all the things I could do to speed up the process and even pushed myself, thinking if I wanted it bad enough, recovery would happen that much faster. Sadly, while our bodies are remarkable works of art, they also work at their own pace and you just have to let your body mend one day at a time.
There isn’t anything we can do to ensure that we will never catch the most recent virus or bug that is doing the rounds, but we can give our bodies the best chance possible to defend themselves. The effectiveness of the immune system declines as we age, so getting into the habit of eating the right foods will benefit you in years to come. With approximately 70-80% of your immune system located in your digestive system, feeding it with the nutrients it needs will enable your body to work as efficiently as possible.
Top 10 immune-boosting foods
1. Almonds: almond skin has been found to aid white blood cells (our immune system cells) to identify viruses and stop them replicating and spreading throughout the body. If you buy almond products, make sure the skin is still intact on the nut as many almond products contain almonds that have been blanched to remove the skin.
2. Broccoli: contains phytochemicals that produce the colour, flavour and smell of vegetables. They have been found to boost the immune system. The healthiest way to eat vegetables is to steam them, as this helps to retain the nutrients, which can be lost when boiling.
3. Cinnamon: it is not just an easy way to flavour foods or drinks but it boosts the immune system and is believed to also regulate blood sugar levels.
4. Spinach: is packed with vitamin C, one of the main vitamins that support the body’s immunity and helps to protect healthy cells. Like broccoli, try not to boil or overcook it in order to retain the nutrients.
5. Citrus fruits: when eating a high-fat diet, unused fat is stored in the body’s cells, which can harm healthy cells. The immune system protects the healthy cells but if a high-fat diet continues for a long period of time, the immune system eventually becomes suppressed. Citrus fruit is high in antioxidants, reducing the risk of damage to healthy cells, therefore supporting the immune system.
6. Garlic: when the cloves are cut, chopped or crushed, allicin, an immune-stimulating nutrient, is released. Garlic has been recognised and used for thousands of years for its proven infection-fighting benefits.
7. Ginger: it contains an oily resin called gingerol, which is an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. It also prevents the build-up of toxins in our organs and helps to clean the lymphatic system, which transports waste products away from cells throughout the whole body.
8. Sunflower seeds: contain the mineral selenium, which helps the immune system to protect against cell damage. They also promote healthy skin, hair and nails due to high levels of vitamin E.
9. Turmeric: with more than 6,000 studies referencing turmeric and its endless benefits, it’s safe to say this is one of the most well-known and used natural remedies to support the body.
10. Crushed red pepper: a 2010 study published in Nutrition and Practice found that the antioxidants contained in the fruit support the body's immune system in the fight against disease.
If you are in need of some inspiring recipes, visit EatingWell for a wide range of meals that you could try.
Inner Wellness Massage Blog
Welcome to my wellness blog! This is where I will share all things health and wellbeing. I hope to encourage others to prioritise their own health while I continuously work to better my own.
Disclaimer: the views and experiences shared are my own and information based on health-related topics has been researched. While this blog promotes and encourages a healthy lifestyle, I am not a doctor and the content is not intended as medical advice. Always seek help from a medical professional if you are concerned about your health.