Supporting your immune system with the right foods

Supporting your immune system with the right foods

  • 3 April 2020
As the cold winter season approaches, it’s really important right now for us all to follow a healthy lifestyle that boosts immunity in a bid to avoid contracting the coronavirus. Supporting your immune system will help your body fight any infections that comes your way - whether it’s the coronavirus, the flu virus or another illness.

There are many things we can do to protect our health and support our immune systems, and one of the most important ways is through our diets. What we eat has a major impact on how our body reacts to stress and illnesses.

And you don’t have to spend a fortune on supposed “immune-boosting” supplements, detox cleanses, and expensive bottles of pills - you just need to fuel your body with the right nutrients that support your immune system

A healthy microbiome means a healthy body


Did you know that most of your immune system resides in your gut? Your gut wall hosts about 70% of the cells that make up your immune system. Your gut microbiome plays a critical role in your immune response to infection and general health. It is therefore so important to keep your microbiome healthy. This should always be a priority, but now it’s more important than ever.

Eat to feed your microbiome


The food you eat has a big impact on the number and type of microbes in the gut. You should therefore focus on eating foods that make your microbiome thrive, and cutting out foods that are detrimental to your gut health.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, natural yoghurt, kefir, and kombucha contain live probiotics - the good bacteria in our gut. Eating them regularly helps repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Eating wholefoods, namely fruits and vegetables, also supports your microbiome through the abundance of nutrients and fibre they contain.

You should try to eat less sugar. We all know sugar isnt good for us, and here is another reason to eat less of it. Sugar actually feeds the bad bacteria in the gut, which means the good bacteria can get killed off.

Eat enough vitamin C


Vitamin C is an important nutrient that helps support the immune system in several ways. Although eating lots of vitamin C cannot cure an illness or prevent you from getting sick, it keeps your immune system functioning properly. You can get enough vitamin C through eating a wide variet of fresh vegetables and fruits, without the need to buy supplements.

When you think of foods that are good sources of vitamin C, often citrus fruits are first to come to mind. However, there are many fruits and vegetables that are much higher in vitamin C than oranges. Broccoli, brussels sprouts, red pepper, tomatoes, and leafy greens like spinach and kale are great sources of this essential nutrient. Because this vitamin isnt stored in the body, you should eat vitamin C rich foods every day to make sure youre getting enough.

How else can I support my immune system?


Apart from what we eat, there are several other ways we can boost our immune system, such as getting enough sleep, practicing intermittent fasting, and reducing stress through mindfulness and meditation.