Make your immune system resilient to infections

#1 Optimise your diet with key immune boosting nutrients

#2 Keep stress and anxiety at bay

#3 May want to supplement short-term

#1 Build immune resilience with (healthy) food

Food is medicine. It is safe (you can’t overdose with food), widely available and better fit for the immune system to work optimally. What is that so? Well, the immune system is not just about white blood cells. It is actually a complex network of cells, tissues, organs and the gut microbiota all working together to mount a coordinated response to an invader. The combination of nutrients in food are designed by nature act upon multiple systems and organs so that they can work better individually and with each other. Hence, food seems to be the best way to boost natural defences.

#2 Harness the energy of impotence, uncertainty and anxiety around the current events to make positive health-promoting choices:

  • You can choose to avoid simple sugars (sugars and simple carbohydrates weaken the ability of white blood cells to fight infections(1))
  • You can choose to make a daily fresh smoothie for the family
  • You can choose to add 2 extra portions of vegetables to your main meal
  • You can choose to consume immune boosting Brazil nuts and other nuts and seeds
  • You can choose to add infection fighting spices and herbs to your meals
  • You can choose to take some time off and practice deep breathing or follow a guided meditation
  • You can choose to practice gratitude (the most powerful immune boosting feeling(2))
  • You can choose to exercise even if you are house-bound
  • You can choose to rest properly and keep a good sleeping routine
  • You can choose to supplement some key nutrients for a while

#3 Evidence shows that several nutrients with immune supporting roles may reduce the risk of viral infections and minimise symptoms(3).

Coincidentally, these key nutrients tend to be on the low end because of seasonality (vitamin D), poor soil content (selenium) and/or low intake of fruit and vegetables (vitamin C and fibre). Remember #1 is to eat a rainbow, that is a colourful plate of fresh, unprocessed foods, wholegrains with some good quality protein. In some cases, it may be sensible to supplement key nutrients for a period of time. Always check with a qualified health practitioner before starting a supplemental regime.

Below a summary table of key nutrients for immune support (according to evidence) and foods where they are found in large concentrations. Be inspired and feel the power of a positive mindset and healthy foods.

Nutrients for Immune Support*

Key nutrient for barrier defense (skin and mucosal membranes) (4)
Needed for thymus to work properly
Plant foods to look for:
Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, lentils, beans, chickpeas, almonds, cashews, quinoa, spinach, wholegrains
Inhibits replication of virus (5)
Anti-inflammatory (5)
Anti-mutagenic (shown to reduce viral mutations) (4)
Plant foods to look for:
Brazil nuts, quinoa, barley, brown rice, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds
Vitamin C
Inhibits viral replication (SARS-CoV-in mice, influenza, rhinovirus) (6) Antioxidant, minimise flu-like symptoms (7) Lowers duration, intensity of common cold (3)
Plant foods to look for:
Green leafy veg, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, peas, bell peppers, parsley, dill, thyme, rosemary, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, berries, kiwis
Vitamin D
Barrier defense (lungs, eyes, gut) (4)
Anti-inflammatory (8)
Anti-replicative effects (9) (10)
Plant foods to look for:
Mushrooms (wild or exposed to IV light): chanterelle, Portobello, maitake, morel, shiitake, chestnut mushrooms Fortified nut milk and yogurts
Foods for the microbiota
Gut microbiota regulates vitamin D metabolism (11)
Gut microbiota helps maintain a healthy immune mucosal response (12)
Plant foods to look for:
Leek, onion, garlic, apples, beans, cabbage, root vegetables, nuts and seeds, flaxseed Fermented foods: sauerkrauft, natural fermented yogurt (from cow’s milk or plant-based), miso, pickled vegs (non-pasteurised or better home-made!), raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, kombucha, kimchi

*Note that only plant-foods are listed here. Some animal foods may be rich in the nutrients above














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