By Janella Purcell, a naturopath, nutritionist, medical herbalist and Lifestream ambassador.
Hippocrates said: “All disease starts in the gut.” If 80 per cent of our immune system is in our digestive system, having a healthy gut just became a whole lot more important. Having a strong immune system is our number one defence.
Food to include
Garlic and its juice: garlic is one of the best medicines. It has natural ‘germanium’ to help boost immunity, is antifungal and antibacterial. If cooking garlic, crush it and let it sit for 10 minutes before adding it to a recipe. It needs this time for the enzymes in it to create the healing phyto (plant) chemicals we need. Garlic, cayenne and shitake broth are antiviral, antibiotic, immune boosting and a diaphoretic (sweat promoting).
Fermented foods: historically, people used cultured or fermented foods to support their intestinal and overall health, way before the invention of the probiotic supplement. Yoghurt, quark, sauerkraut, kim chi, kombucha and miso paste are good sources of natural, healthy bacteria.
Micro greens: wheat grass, chlorella, spirulina and barley grass are chock full of minerals and enzymes. The enzymes are both anti-mycotoxic (mycotoxins are released by yeast/fungal infections) and antioxidant, while the minerals play an important role in keeping cellular communication channels open.
Hemp: look for the seeds, oil or protein powder in health food stores.
Flaxseeds: a good source of vitamin E, flaxseeds will naturally be immune boosting.
Dried ginger: for when a person is well. Fresh ginger should be used during sickness to promote sweating out the pathogens.
Manuka honey (and the Australian version, jellybush honey): highly beneficial.
All legumes are beneficial.
Celery and lemon juice for a cold with fever. Also, those foods high in bioflavonoids, such as cabbage and green capsicum.
Shitake mushrooms: especially strong immune boosters and anti-viral.
Mushrooms (button): improve immunity against disease-producing micro-organisms.
Fresh fruit and vegetables: especially yellow, green, orange and red varieties. These are high in vitamin A, which enhances immunity.
Spelt: a wholegrain with a great capacity to strengthen immunity.
Turmeric: is a clinically proven anti-inflammatroy agent, so will help stimulate immune function.
Vitamin C: opt for nature-sourced foods that are rich in vitamin C, such as acerola berries. These will be gentle on the stomach and contain all co-factors and other necessary nutrients for optimal absorption. Other strong sources of vitamin C include rockmelon, goji berries, kiwifruit, acerola cherries, blackcurrants, guava, oranges, red capsicum, strawberries and broccoli.
Iron: organic tofu, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, alfalfa, arame, broccoli, cherries, chickpeas, kale, micro-algae (spirulina, etc), parsley, seaweed.
Zinc: wheat germ, pepitas, oysters, miso, alfalfa, sardines, legumes, mushrooms, pecans, soybeans, seafood, sunflower seeds.
Vitamin A: kale, spirulina and any green red, orange or blue veggie.
Vitamin E: hazelnut, sunflower, almond and olive oil.
Co Q10: as a supplement.
Selenium: three to four Brazil nuts a day are enough, or supplement with a natural, wholefood source.
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