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‘How to support your immune system through diet’

By emma kenton james, Tuesday Mar 17, 2020

Right now health is very much at the forefront of most of our minds. With few guidelines put in place to help us stay safe and healthy, bar singing while you wash your hands (I recommend the intro rap to The Fresh Prince), I wanted to share some insight on how best support our immune system through diet.

1. Eat the rainbow

By eating a diverse array of non-processed, whole foods, we can proactively support our immune systems. Eating different colours of veg and fruit will give you a boost of antioxidants which will help with toxic load and inflammation.

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Ensuring fibre is included in every day consumption will help with T-cell production. These beauties are infection fighting cells that we want to welcome along to the party. Find your fibre in whole grains, legumes, fruits and veg.

Where possible, go organic. Organic vegetables tend to have far less exposure to harmful pesticides, giving them a greater boost of vitamins and antioxidants and put our bodies under less stress than their non-organic peers.

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2. Manage stress levels

Stress can suppress the immune system. Fact. Whether it be environmental, physical or emotional stress, the body will elicit the same response. Reduce stress and support your nervous system to ensure that your immune system is firing on all cylinders.

3. Support the gut

The gut is a wondrous place and is the home to more than 70 per  cent of our immune system cells. It is our key security in both external and internal threats such as pollution, poor diet and infection. Ensuring that we consume both pre and probiotics daily, will feed and populate the good bacteria that facilitate these mechanisms.

Prebiotics such as garlic, onions and oats help to feed the good bacteria and eating fermented produce such as kombucha or sauerkraut will help to populate the gut with them.

4. Get your zzzzzs in

When we sleep our immune system secretes key proteins that moderate inflammation and immune cells. These are our internal army against viruses or any other disease-causing bacterium.

To ensure you get the best kip possible, stay away from electronic devices and blue light after the sun goes down. Remember a cup of coffee will stay in your system for 12 hours and make sure you finish eating at least two to three hours before bed, so your body can focus on healing and repairing rather than digesting.

Emma Kenton James is the founder of The Yana Clinic, offering bespoke nutritional guidance

Emma Kenton James is a member of the British Association for Nutrition & Lifestyle Medicine – photo: Yana Clinic

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