Words by Jacqueline Alwill, Accredited Nutritionist @brownpapernutrition
It feels like summer only just started, and already the weather is starting to change. As much as I love the cooler months: delicious, comforting food, nights in with the family and cozy clothes, it can also be a time of coughs, sniffles and sneezes. As we approach the months ahead, it's important to keep our immune systems strong and healthy.
Here are my simple ways to boost your immune system right now:
1. GET OUT INTO SUNSHINE… We’ve had plenty of lockdowns and indoor time in the past two years to know that our bodies don’t thrive on being all cooped up. Rather getting out into the great outdoors and soaking up a juicy beam of Vitamin D rich sunlight is just one of the ways we can naturally and easily boost our immune system. Vitamin D is a prohormone/vitamin which plays an important role in immune function, with Vitamin D deficiency associated with an increased susceptibility to infections. Aim for: 10-15 minutes off-peak sunlight daily with as much skin exposure as possible in this time frame. Think of the big hitters like exposing your back and tummy to really max the experience.
2. FUEL YOUR IMMUNE CELLS. Your gut houses close to 70% of immune cells… 70%!!!!!! Feed those babies! Rather than thinking of your gut as a place to pass the food through one end and out the other, switch your thinking and understand that your gut - and the trillions of commensal bacteria, or microbes, that live there - is the engine room for your health. Especially your immune health. Focus on a diet full of fibre rich wholefoods, low in refined foods and sugars and pack the fridge with pre and probiotic-rich foods. Prebiotic food sources., - think leeks, onion, garlic, dandelion, barley, oats, artichoke, asparagus, green banana, and flaxseed. Wondering where to find the sources of foods and drinks with probiotic effects? Keep on reading my friend…
3. LOVE THE LITTLE LIVE CULTURES in foods and bevvies such as sauerkraut, natural yoghurt, miso, kimchi and of course my / your absolute favourite - kombucha too. Want in on the ultimate hack to help boost your immunity? Well, friend and fellow Remedy lover, Remedy Drinks has JUST released REMEDY SHOTS, including Remedy Immune+. SHOTS! SHOTS! SHOTS! They are a VIBE. Remedy Immune+ Shots are a powerful long-aged kombucha brew, boosted with natural vitamin-rich ingredients and 25% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C from acerola cherries (#yum) plus blakeslea trispora, a beta-carotene super producer, which converts to Vitamin A and can help boost immune function. They’re a super convenient size, contain no sugar (for real), packed with flavour, organic and the perfect on-the-go pick me up for your tastebuds and immune system.
4. MANAGE STRESS BEST. Oh, that old chestnut eh? Y.E.S. As a nutritionist, I’ll never stop reinforcing the importance of managing stress to improve immune function. Stress (external and endogenous) both short/sharp and long term/chronic can compromise the immune system and its nifty response. Absolutely EVERYONE needs to find stress management practices to look after their mental health and immune system. Do whatever it is that makes you switch off from stimulation, stress, thinking, analysing, processing, just over-doing. Try out simple breathwork techniques, stretching, bush hikes, reading a book, journaling, yoga, stretching, cooking… oh and if you’re cooking then one final thing!
5. GET THOSE ANTIOXIDANTS ACTING inside your body, against free radicals which compromise immune cell health. Enrich your meals and snacks with antioxidant food aplenty. Don’t know where to start? Think COLOUR. #eattherainbow friend! Go for plenty of berries, apples, green tea (hello did you know green tea is in Remedy Kombucha too!?!?!), nuts and seeds, kale, cabbage and dark leafy greens, beetroot and most deliciously DARK CHOCOLATE.