Are you concerned about what anti-viral and immune-boosting foods, plus nutrients you should be considering to support your health?
Here are my top recommendations:
Eat balanced meals, packed with lots of different, coloured fresh fruit and vegetables.
If you don’t already, try to eat at least 10 plus varieties per day. A couple of pieces of fruit, and 8 servings or more of veggies across lunch and dinner, and even breakfast if you have a smoothie. This might sound like a lot, but you don’t need much of each one.
Consuming a diverse mix of fruit and veggies will help to support your immune system and gut microbiome health.
Other anti-viral + immune-boosting foods
Studies indicate that garlic enhances immune system response by stimulating protective immune cells. So, it can be beneficial to be generous with the amount of garlic you consume.
Eat it raw to get the most powerful anti-viral benefits. Otherwise, if cooking with it, chop it 10 minutes before cooking to reap the anti-viral benefits. I incorporate one whole clove into my main meal, every day.
Ginger is noted for its ability to fight viruses (in particular respiratory viruses), and can be included in the diet raw or cooked. Dried ginger doesn’t have the same effect, so make sure it's fresh.
Incorporate into your diet - as a tea, in a smoothie, in a stir fry, in a soup, or grated and mixed in with your salad or dressing.
Coconut oil is the most powerful natural anti-viral around.
Like humans, viruses and bacteria (pathogens) have a skin, or outer coating to keep foreign invaders out. Most viruses and bacteria have a malleable, fluid-like skin that is composed of a fatty substance. Inside this fatty skin resides the rest of the organism, including the organism's DNA.
Because the fatty acids in coconut oil are similar to the pathogen's own skin, the fatty acids are attracted to the organism and are easily absorbed right into it. Bingo!
Once inside, the pathogen finds that the medium chain fatty acids are actually much smaller than the fatty acids that make up its own outer casing and this begins to break apart the pathogen's casing.
Incorporate into your diet - Sautéing veggies and meats, add for creaminess to your coffee, in your smoothie, and as a healthy fat in home-baked cooking.
Mouth Wash - Coconut oil can also be used as an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal mouth wash after cleaning your teeth.
Swish 1 dessertspoon of coconut oil around your mouth for about 10-20 minutes (no longer) and then deposit it into the bin.
There are many micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.) that research has shown are very beneficial to our health, and in particular, very beneficial to our immune system.
Vitamin D can modulate both the innate (first line of defence) and the adaptive immune responses. Therefore, vitamin D helps to maintain a strong immune system.
Typically our vitamin D levels are at their highest at the end of the summer, and lowest at the end of the winter because we can only really make vitamin D from the sun between May and September.
The vitamin D council places the ideal level between 40 and 80ng/ml. In the UK the measure is usually nmol/L, so 60ng/ml is 150nmol/L.
Grape seed extract (pro-anthocyanidin bioflavonoid)
Grape seed extract exhibits potent antioxidants, as well as anti‑bacterial, anti‑viral, anti‑carcinogenic, anti‑inflammatory and anti‑allergic actions.
For example, respiratory viruses cause inflammation in the epithelial cells of the lungs. Grape seed extract inhibits the abnormal release of proinflammatory cytokines (cytokines are cell- signalling molecules) caused by the virus.
Probiotics aid digestion and improve nutrient absorption. Even though the immune system is most commonly measured by immune cell numbers, such as your white blood cells, about 80% of immune system activity occurs in your gut.
The probiotics that have scientifically shown to create a beneficial environment for the good bacteria to flourish, stave off the bad bacteria, and provide numerous other benefits, are Bifidobacterium BB-12 and Lactobacillus Rhamnosus LGG.
My nutritional supplements include:
CellSentials (Vita-antioxidant & Core Mineral) plus a pure fish oil (BiOmega), for general health support. Both contain some vitamin D.
Proflavanol C100 - I never go without this grape seed extract and vitamin C supplement.
USANA Probiotic - I take this every other day in combination with another probiotic.
More information on all of these supplements and savings can be found here
When taking supplements, remember that quality pure raw ingredients and quality manufacturing of potent supplements make a huge difference in effectiveness and safety. Not all supplements are created equally.
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