What are immune boosting foods?

bowl of vegetables including garlic and peppers

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With autumn not far away, now is the perfect time to focus on our health and making sure we are eating immune boosting foods!

What are immune boosting foods?

All foods contain nutrients. Nutrient rich foods that contain high levels of particular vitamins and minerals can help to keep our immune systems strong and this is so important for fighting off disease.

Autumn is one of my favourites times of the year, as the days become shorter and the air cools, I start to enjoy wearing my sweaters and jeans and working in my garden, one of my absolute passions!

However, it is also the beginning of cold and flu season. This year more than ever with the threat of Covid-19 still with the world, understanding what are immune boosting foods and why we should eat them is vital.

Our bodies need a healthy immune system to fight off germs that try to infiltrate our bodies. When the immune system is strong it can stop us from succumbing to these germs, which maybe viral, such as the common cold.

Should we ‘catch a cold’, when our immune system is good, the symptoms can be significantly reduced, the health of our bodies can be critical in keeping us well.

I have created ‘FIVE IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS FOR YOUR SHOPPING LIST‘ I talk about what they and how they benefit us.

They are the five every day, inexpensive, but immunity boosting foods that I can’t do without.

You can print off the shopping list and keep it in your purse so you never forget! Click here, to subscribe to our newsletter and keep up to date with all our healthy eating news and recipes! (We’ll be having an e-recipe book, coming out very soon, to all our subscribers)

How do we boost our immune system?

Our natural immunity is impacted by what we put into our bodies – our diet!

What we eat can make a real difference in helping us to have a strong immune system.

When I can, I choose an organic diet, I’m lucky to have a local organic farm that delivers once a week a seasonal vegetable box. There are many schemes like these as well as pop up local farmer’s markets.

If you’re close to one, please try them out, talk to them about the produce, and understand what you are eating.

When I am unable to purchase organic produce, I mix and match. Certainly, organic produce is more expensive so I am happy to look out for deals and reduced items and combine these with non organic produce too.

Eating organic produce means it is free from added pesticides and the farming practices are strictly monitored to adhere to best agricultural policies which will help our planet to become sustainable. When the soil is full of nutrients, our food should be full of nutrients, therefore we are full of nutrients! This makes sense!

Which nutrients does our body need to help boost our immunity?

Vitamin C, is the common immune boosting nutrient that we all know to help fight colds. For me I immediately think of a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice!

And of course this is high in Vitamin C, however they are many other foods also high in Vitamin C, such as green leafy vegetables, spinanch, kale and chard for example.

Broccoli is another fantastic food, that is high in this immune boosting vitamin, higher than oranges, in fact!!

Our immune systems need a range of vitamins including but not limited to: VitaminC, Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium, Iron and Copper. By eating a well-balanced nutritious diet, such as the Mediterranean Diet (that you may know I am a huge fan of), your body should be receiving all the nutrients it needs.

However, this is not always the case, it is known that …

‘those who are poorly nourished are at a greater risk of bacterial, viral, and other infections.’

Sourced quote and additional information from Harvard T H Chan, School of Public Health

There can be different reasons for this, but if you feel you may fall in to this category, check with your doctor/physician they may advise that a supplement could be the best way to ensure your body is not without all the nutrients it needs.

How do I ensure I eat a well-balanced diet?

A well-balanced diet, needs to have plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, it should include, pulses, grains and legumes, a little nuts and seeds, and sources of protein which may include dairy, fish and meat. Oily fish is particularly good for us, containing healthy fats, that are good for our bodies and brains.

To read more on this subject please read our previous post, What is a Mediterranean Diet? It is full of information and explains in more details the foods you should eat and why this diet is so good for us!

The Mediterranean Diet is proven as a healthy diet for us all; the life expectancy in the European countries surrounding the Mediterranean are some of the highest in the world!

Our Immune System is not dependent on diet alone

Whilst our diet is important, there are other factors that play their part too. Sufficient sleep and reducing our stress levels are two major components. Not smoking, limiting the amount of alcohol, and air pollution may all have an impact.

Most of us know how important these things are, but when life gets busy it is not always easy to implement. We have to get better at finding time for ourselves. Finding the pleasure in life.

Recently have you seen posts, vlogs and read about how we should get up earlier, work longer by managing every minute of our lives? At times, I have got hooked in, who doesn’t want to find an extra hour a day!

Honestly I would love to, on this website I talk about it a lot, but for me that’s only part of the message. How we spend our time is so much more important.

I can be guilty of this, I was the ‘woman who lost her laugh,’ I wasn’t knowingly unhappy, but I had realised that the fun was disappearing fast.

Once I understood how my day was taken up, (which sounds stupid, I know, because it’s my day – but I was running around like a headless chicken, with a never ending to do list – I felt so demoralised)

Yet after writing down how my days were spent and the people that impacted my day, I was able to put together a routine that I ensured had some ‘ME TIME’ plus time to see my friends, as well as time for work and most importantly family.  Not all these things every day, but I make sure they don’t get missed out completely!

It wasn’t easy, I had to be realistic, I had to work fewer hours I had to get balance.

I so want my businesses to be successful and they take a great deal of work, work that I LOVE to do but I have to remember work is only part of my day. By being realistic with our expectations, we can take the stress away – it is seriously not good for us!

After all the best medicine for anything is laughter – right?

If you would like to understand more of how to make time for yourself, please consider signing up for our awesome two week course (It’s completely free, and it is in a PDF format for you to work through)

It takes 15-30 minutes a day, where you consider and write about what is taking up your time, how it is making you feel and contemplating your dreams for the future!

By the end of the two weeks, the hope is that you have managed to find a little time for you in your life and that you are inspired to make exciting plans for your future. Interested? Email me grace@graceandlivewell.com and I will send it straight over, completely free!

If you have any questions or comments on this post, we would love to hear from you!  Do you have a favourite food that helps keep the germs at bay?

Live well

Grace x