Ultimate Flu Fighting Foods
Author: Lia Pellizzeri Date Posted:20 June 2017
Is your Immune System ready for Winter?
Autumn is a time of transition, and the perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork for a strong, healthy immune system.
As usual, the gut is the key to immunity, with over 70% of the immune system found within Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue, or GALT. So we will focus on some immune system-loving foods for you to include on a regular basis to help keep those colds at bay.
The quintessential Immune booster! Garlic’s allicin content plays many important roles within the immune system. For most of us, garlic is also a delicious staple in our day-to-day cooking, however raw, crushed garlic is the ideal way to make the most of its protective qualities.
So start adding some to fresh home-made dips to snack on, pesto and salsas are also a great way to add some of the raw stuff into your diet. For those of you a little sensitive to its pungency, supplementation may be the way to go.
Great for prevention as well as when you’re in the thick of a bad cold, Ginger’s warming circulatory stimulant and inflammatory actions encourages detoxification and helps raise body temperature to aid the body in fighting off those winter bugs. Steep some chopped fresh ginger into a mug of boiling water and sip throughout the day during the winter months, it also makes a delicious addition to winter dishes like soups and stews.
Of course, we’d never leave out citrus! Loaded with Vitamin C, everyone knows this nutrient as an immune-boosting panacea, but how exactly does it do this? Ascorbic acid works in several ways by intervening with immune cell expression and signalling, as well as assisting in the production of interferons that help protect cells against attack.
Ditch the bottled, often reconstituted juices and opt for ultra-fresh whole fruit, as Vitamin C can start deteriorating upon exposure to light, oxygen, and heat.
Prebiotics & Probiotics
Probiotics, which are more or less healthy gut bacteria, can’t survive off intestinal juices alone, they need fuel as well to help them proliferate and potentiate their immune modulating actions, which include increased Immunoglobulin A secretion and enhanced phagocyte and natural killer cell activity.
That’s where prebiotics come in! When supplementing with Probiotics whether it be in capsule form or by increasing your intake of yoghurt, fermented dairy or unpasteurized sauerkraut, it is important to keep these bacteria thriving by feeding them prebiotic foods such as raw garlic, raw leeks, raw or cooked onions, dandelion greens, apples, kale, cauliflower, avocado and berries – this is certainly not an extensive list, but what they have in common is their content of certain structural components like resistant starch, pectin, and soluble fibre.
Manuka honey is a special type of honey produced in New Zealand, and even some parts of Australia, off bees that pollinate the Leptospermum or Tea Tree plant native to these countries. More than any other type of honey, it exerts antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties due to compounds working both singularly and synergistically, but it is its unique content of MGO or methylglyoxal primarily responsible for its significant antibacterial action.
Manuka honey comes in a variety of strengths, so its important to look at its content of MGO or UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) to ascertain its therapeutic value. For general health and preventative measures, I’d recommend a UMF of 10+, about the equivalent MGO of around 263 – which you would be taking daily. If you are using the honey for when you have a cold, I would suggest keeping a jar of 18+ or 20+, equivalent MGO of 600-800 approximately, about the house
Remember infants under 12months old are not to be given honey.
There’s more to soup than being a comfort food when you’re feeling under the weather, as the vitamins and minerals that are leached out of boiling bones are incredibly beneficial for your immune system in a variety of ways. The amino acids produced from making bone broths, whether it be beef or chicken stock, may help reduce systemic inflammation and improve digestion. It also aids the immune system by providing an abundance of easily absorbed nutrients required for supporting a body in need of some extra TLC.
The old adage ‘let food be your medicine’ never ceases to be true, and nutrition is undoubtedly the best way to keep healthy throughout the winter months, as what we eat has a huge impact on all aspects of our body and our Immune system is certainly no exception.
|Written by Lia Pellizzeri|
Lia is a qualified Naturopath who believes in the power of nature to heal many of today’s acute and chronic conditions. She’s not only passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, but about educating people on nutrition and the amazing benefits of herbs and supplements in addressing symptoms and their underlying issues.
Lia loves to cook, bake and read… when she isn’t busy telling people to enjoy their egg yolks and other healthy fats, she can most likely be found on the lounge with a latte and a tattered copy of Lord of the Rings.