Immunity is very much top of mind at the moment and we've been getting tons of questions on what we can do to strengthen it. We hope this is a useful read...
Our immunity is one of eight crucial systems within the body that is needed to keep us healthy. Alongside our hormones, detoxification, energy, brain, stress, digestion and musculoskeletal systems, our immunity works in synergy with every other system, not just on its own (we know for example that immunity suffers if we are stressed, or when digestion is compromised). This is why we need to support the whole body to keep our immunity working optimally in line with our philosophy, which you can read more about here. Here we outline ways to support your immunity, as well as the other systems it works in synergy with to help keep you fighting fit.Our immune system is always up against it. Being regularly bombarded by foreign invaders, we have developed an array of complex mechanisms that help keep our barriers strong. Though there are many components to a healthy immune system, our white blood cells in particular work extremely hard. The moment we’re confronted with anything that might compromise our health, they whip in to action, helping to engulf and destroy viruses that may have found their way in to the body. This information is then stored for easy use next time the body is confronted with a particular antigen. These complex and amazing processes require an array of nutrients from the diet
Vitamin C is first on the list, being essential for white blood cell production as well as a whole host of other immune mechanisms. The body is unable to store Vit C so we need a daily supply of this to prevent low levels. Many studies have shown that getting at least 250mg of vitamin C daily can help to ameliorate symptoms and shorten the duration of colds and flu.
Eat - broccoli kale, sprouts fresh, colourful fruit and veg such as greens, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, peppers, dark and citrus fruits and fresh herbs like parsley.
Vitamin A is vital for supporting the immune system found within the digestive system – yes you heard correctly, the gut is also a key component of our immune system (but more on that below!). It also supports the body’s sudden increase in demand for white blood cells when facing antibodies.
Eat – liver, meat, fish, seafood, eggs, chillies, sweet potato and spinach.
Zinc is also essential for our immunity. It helps to support us by promoting the production of antibodies that skilfully remember the details of intruders previously defeated so we can fight them again. Many zinc-rich foods have the added bonus of being high in protein, which is also key for immunity.
Eat: poultry, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, cashew nuts, seafood and fish.
Vitamin D is another crucial nutrient for our immunity, which maybe one of the reasons why we are more at the mercy of bugs when sunlight hours are lower. Vitamin D helps to increase bacterial defenses as well as modulating our immune cells so that we react appropriately to invaders.
Eat: though oily fish, avocado, mushrooms (leave them out in the light to boost levels before you eat) and oranges helps, supplementing is recommended by the NHS through winter – more on supplementing vitamin D (how, when, how much, why) here.
Probiotics - Finally, consider the importance of the beneficial bacteria that resides in the gut. These are our first line of defense, on which the immune system is highly reliant. Given our bacteria is so sensitive to what we eat, stress levels and medication such as antibiotics, it’s no wonder that it can easily become imbalanced, putting our immunity at risk.
Eat – sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, probiotic yoghurt, plenty of fibre in the diet and consider taking a good probiotic.
Add the below to your cooking for an extra boost:
Mushrooms: especially oyster, shiitake and medicinal mushrooms such a cordyceps, reishi and maitake. They contain powerful immune-supporting ‘beta-glucans’ which help to stimulate macrophages, the bodies very own Pac-man, which quite literally eat up and neutralise viruses. (Found in Equi Formulas)
Garlic - thought to boost the efficacy of white blood cells and also has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Ginger - shown to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Also supportive of gut health.
Cinnamon - anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants
Turmeric - anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and nourishing for your immunity.
- Oily fish - anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting.
Equi’s Formula range uniquely work to nourish each of your 8 internal systems. All contain the highest quality multivitamins and minerals, probiotics and digestive enzymes, medicinal mushrooms, superfoods, adaptogenic herbs and vegan omegas 3, 6 & 9. Through our holistic approach, our supplements help to keep your body balanced, in harmony and working optimally.
Disclaimer: Certain supplements are used for different reasons and a one-size-fits-all approach shouldn’t be adopted. In addition, pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a supplements programme. As with all articles on www.equilondon.com, this is no substitution for individual medical or nutritional advice.