6 Simple Steps to Support Immunity and Reduce the Risk of Viral Infection Naturally
Updated: Mar 10
"Fear of epidemic is as old as mankind it's self" I've found this a helpful reminder, to keep the recent threat of Coronavirus epidemic into perspective. This is no new thing. We have been here before, and no doubt we will be here again. Taking a proactive approach to our health and wellbeing, cultivating wellness wherever possible rather than treating disease is a philosophy that I choose to adopt.
Following a whole food diet, minimising refined, processed foods and sugar, is the best way to support our bodies to do the job they are designed to do - To keep us well and protect against pathogens.
Keep calm and carry on. Fear and stress can negatively affect our immune system, so taking steps to care of our emotional wellbeing is also important.
Here are Six Simple Steps to support the immune system and help prevent viral infection:
Tip 1: Drink citrus-infused water - Stay hydrated and increase your Vitamin C
Vitamin C helps to maximize the body's anti-oxidative ability and protect against viral infections. Staying hydrated is also important to support immune function, helping to produce lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells around the body.
Up the intake of Vitamin C rich foods, such as citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, pomegranate, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
Tip 2: Ginger Cinnamon and Peppermint Teas - Increase Anti Viral Herbs and Spices:
Many herbs and spices contain powerful antiviral constituents. These include ginger, turmeric, garlic, onions, horseradish, cinnamon, ginseng, cayenne pepper, peppermint, dandelion, mistletoe, licorice, oregano, and basil. Include these in your meals and hot drinks.
Tip 3: Eat Nuts and Seeds for breakfast- Incorporate Zinc Rich foods.
Zinc is required for our bodies to produce the digestive juice hydrochloric acid, which works like washing up liquid in the stomach, breaking down food so that the gut can absorb it. Zinc is crucial for normal development and function of cells mediating nonspecific immunity such as neutrophils and natural killer cells, which play an important role in the adaptivity of the immune system.
Incorporate Zinc-rich foods, such as brazil nuts, ginger, pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans.
Tip 4: Add mushrooms to your omelet or salad - Mushrooms may support immune function.
Mushrooms contain polysaccharides. Involved in immune response they activate macrophages, T cells, and NK cells. Certain medicinal mushrooms may also offer protection against bacterial, viral and fungal infections, as well as protection against cancer cells. Mushrooms are also a source of Vitamin D, which plays an important role in Immune system modulation. Between October and March in the northern hemisphere, we don’t make enough Vitamin D. NHS guidelines state that adults should supplement with Vitamin D during this time.
Tip 5: Make some Chicken or Cabbage soup - Support Gut Health
70% of the immune system located in the gut. Gut wall integrity is important for immunity, as well as the balance of microflora. Collagen In bone broth and cabbage may help to support integrity. Probiotic strain S. Boulardii has been very well studied for protection against infectious agents by supporting secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA), the major immunoglobulin of the innate immune system.
Tip 6: Personal Hygiene
The following advice is by the WHO Wash hands with soap and water or alcohol-based gel and follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze, then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Antibacterial soaps and wipes may compromise the natural balance of microflora in the gut, which may have a negative effect on the immune system long term.
If you would like to explore further how foods can support immunity and prevent viral infections, or advice on my recommended supplements for immunity, I offer one to one online support and can devise a bespoke nutrition plan for you. Why not book a FREE 10 minute exploratory call with me, or check out the Nutritional Therapy Packages I offer.
BA, Dip NT, mBANT