The five-day Healthy Eating Week challenge doesn’t just have to be from 13 – 17 June. You can kickstart your healthy eating habits any time of the year! Organised by the British Nutrition Foundation, this year's theme is: Eat well for you and the planet! From focusing on fibre to reducing food waste, each day of the week will have a different goal for you to work towards creating a healthier, more sustainable diet.
Keep reading to discover the top 5 ways to boost your immune system and support your gut health with food and nutrition.
Our nutritional therapist, Abir Hamza-Goodacre, shares some advice to support your gut and boost your immune system with some delicious food and drink.
1. Support your gut
A mighty 80% of your immune system lies in your gut. Research shows that when there’s an imbalance in your gut flora, your immune system is weakened. You can positively influence the health of your gut by:
- Eating a whole food diet comprising plenty of colourful vegetables
- Reducing exposure to chemicals from the environment and food, buy natural and organic where possible
- Managing stress
Considering taking a good quality probiotic supplement to replenish levels of healthy gut flora.
2. Antioxidant defence
A diet rich in antioxidant nutrients can help boost the strength of your immune system. Examples of these nutrients include vitamins C & E, and beta-carotene which are naturally occurring in plants that have antioxidant properties. Eating a diet rich in plant foods is key!
3. Add zing with zinc
This mineral is critical for healthy cell development and function. Zinc interacts with thousands of proteins in your body and is involved in around 300 enzyme processes. It improves wound healing, thyroid function, gut health, blood clotting, vision and smell. Zinc is a powerful antioxidant – when it is deficient the function of your T cells, which act as soldiers for your immune system, is reduced. Zinc is found in meat, shellfish, seeds, beans and legumes.
4. Raise vitamin D levels
Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis. An optimal vitamin D level is one of the most protective factors to health along with a healthy diet and exercise. During the lighter months, most people should be able to get enough vitamin D from sunlight. Food sources include oily fish, red meat, liver and eggs.
5. Spice up your life!
It’s amazing to think that simple ingredients in your food cupboard can literally be medicinal.
Garlic – The high sulphur content in garlic not only boosts the flavour in food, but also has potent antibiotic actions and supports your liver to carry out detoxification more effectively.
Ginger – Contains a compound called gingerol, which acts as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
Turmeric – One of the foods with the highest anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This is due to curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric that also gives the spice its golden hue.
Oregano – This spice contains antioxidants such as rosmarinic acid used to support immune health. Oregano also contains phytochemicals that give it antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Oil of oregano has been shown to treat infections and kill parasites, viruses, bacteria and even some fungi.
Cinnamon – used in many cultures to help fight harmful infections and viruses. This is because cinnamon is a natural antimicrobial, antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral agent.
Access private nutritional therapy and dietetics
If you’re looking for help to change your diet, our team of specialist staff - including a dietician and nutritionist – can help you through nutritional therapy and dietetics.
Nutritional therapy can support you to adapt what you eat and drink in order to help you achieve your health and wellbeing goals. Our diagnostic department also offers tests, scans and examinations, helping you to feel better, fast. To find out more about our nutritional therapy, complete our online booking form or call our Private Patient Team on 01580 363 158.
Published on 15 June 2022