Foods to support your immune system

By Jael Davison

In these surreal times that we live in, a healthy diet that supports the immune system is an important line of defense. Let’s give ourselves a fighting chance!

Variety is really important, lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (though frozen is a good substitute) also foods rich in fibre, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts and seeds.

This is one of the most effective nutrients at enhancing immune function. This can be found in the following foods:

  • Vegetable oils-such as wheatgerm, sunflower, corn and soybean oils
  • Nuts-such as almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts
  • Raw seeds-such as pumpkin, sunflower and sesame
  • Green leafy vegetables-such as spinach and broccoli

This vitamin C is thought to increase production of white blood cells that fight infection. It isn’t stored in the body, so a regular intake is vital. Here are a few of the foods it can be found in:

  • Citrus, lemons, orange, grapefruit, etc. Other fruits-strawberries, pineapple, papaya, kiwi, mango, guava.
  • Peppers [capsicums] all colours, these contain more Vitamin C than citrus.
  • Vegetables-such as broccoli, cauliflower, potato.

It’s the sulphur compound and allicin in garlic that makes it a healthy addition to the diet and fighting infection is just one of many benefits. Raw garlic is best.

A word of caution-too much garlic can cause upset stomach, bloating, diarrhea, bad breath and body odour.

Much of our immune system resides in our gut (gastrointestinal tract) and probiotics help to keep it healthy. Foods that contain these are:

Live yoghurt, artisan cheese, drinks like kefir or kombucha. Also fermented vegetable foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut.

Some foods can contribute to making us sick such as:

  • Fizzy drinks
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Foods and drinks high in sugar
  • Processed foods
  • Alcohol

Remember the best line of defense is offence.