Eat a well balanced diet: Focus on nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy
proteins that provide amino acids-healthy proteins needed to support a functioning immune system. There is evidence that various micro- and macro- nutrients deficiencies alter immune response. Add the following to you grocery list and your diet to help boost immune defense (except of course, those to which you are allergic, intolerant or reactive).
Vitamin A: Sweet potato, carrots, tuna, butternut, squash, spinach
Vitamin C: Kiwifruit, capsicums, strawberries, oranges, brocolli
Vitamin D: Salmon, mushrooms, tuna, eggs
Zinc: Meats, firm tofu, lentils, yogurt, GF oatmeal
Reactive Foods. Eliminating inflammatory foods from the diet is essential for maintaining inflammation balance, both in the GI tract and systemically. In particular, patients with existing auto immune conditions must strictly avoid reactive foods. While appropriate dietary changes will be specific to each person, avoidance of one or more of the following is common:
Gluten containing grains: wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut
Foods known to be gluten cross-reactors: dairy, sesame, oat, corn.
Nightshades (tomato, potato, eggplant, peppers, paprika)
Trans fat/hydrogenated oils
Nuts and legumes
A low histamine, low FODMAP or similar diet may be appropriate
Get regular exercise. Just like a healthy diet, exercise is a pillar of health and can contribute to a strong immune system. Exercise can improve circulation, which may allow the cells and components of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Exercising outdoors also exposes you to vitamin D, which is essential for immunity as well as providing some stress relief. There are many ways to get exercise locally or at home:
Your local instructors are now offering online classes. Just look them up online.
You tube videos or online apps
Getting outside for a walk, run or cycle
Take time to relax and de-stress. Stress drives the production of cortisol and adrenaline, which are known to suppress our immune system. The following practices may be helpful in managing occasional stress:
Practice mindful meditation and yoga. Apps such as headspace and websites such as Yoga Glo plus many more are readily available.
Take a break from screen and noise
Listen to soothing music
Make time for favorite activities
Enjoy a warm caffeine free drink such as herbal teas or warm golden turmeric milk.
Make sure to get plenty of sleep. A lack of sleep can adversely affect your immune system therefore it's encourage to:
Stick to a sleep schedule
Avoid caffeine and eating a large meal right before sleeping.
allow time to relax and wind down before going to sleep.
Avoid screens in the bedroom, read a book
Consider relaxing teas such as chamomile, kava or valerian before going to bed.
Adapted from Pure Encapsulations Dietary and Lifestyle Immune Support booklet.