Sarah Orecchia, Founder of Unbeelievable Health, and Nutritional Therapists Sally Wisbey and Erin McCann Galvin share their top tips to strengthen your immune system to help avoid illness
Nutritionists and Doctors agree that a well functioning immune system is crucial to help maintain wellness and to help minimise the effects of colds, flu & allergies (including hay fever) & to help keep illness at bay. The UK Health and Safety Executive reported that in 2016 over 25 million days of work were lost due to ill health. For students, over 18 million days of school were missed. Did you know that the best natural health insurance you can have is to ensure that your immune system is functioning well? Studies show that a number of things can compromise immunity. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to help strengthen your body’s natural defences & to help keep your immune system in top working order all year round.
What to avoid
Nutritionist Erin McCann Galvin shares the culprits which can compromise our immune system:
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of exercise
- Nutrient deficiency and low intake of immune supporting nutrients
- Lack of quality protein – it can lead to a reduction in the production of immune cells
- Poor stress management – it can lead to elevated levels of cortisol which suppresses immune function.
- Caffeine consumption – it can block absorption of nutrients and can also release cortisol.
- Eating refined foods and sugars – they can compromise immunity.
- Lack of sunshine exposure – it reduces Vitamin D production which can impede immune cell function.
Nutritional Therapist Sally Wisbey suggests assessing your diet & recalibrating it by upping your intake of fruits, vegetables and protein, and reducing sugar consumption (including going easy on things that turn to sugar like white bread, pasta, potatoes, refined white carbs and alcohol).
What to eat
- Oats for breakfast topped with zinc rich nuts or seeds and fruit. It keeps you fuller & satisfied longer helping prevent resorting to junk food and sugar later in the day.
- Vitamin C rich vegetables & fruits such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red peppers, citrus fruits & berries – vitamin C plays an important role in the immune system, and these colourful foods are nutrient dense.
- Learn to love spinach – it’s rich in vitamins including zinc, which helps combat viruses.
- More iron-rich foods such as red meats, lentils and green leafy vegetables which are good sources of iron, and support a healthy immune system.
Another of our nutritional therapists, Erin McCann Galvin, suggests also including garlic (it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions), pumpkins and squashes which are rich in Vitamin A (essential for immune function) & organic plain yogurt that contains natural probiotics to support immune system health (or take a probiotic supplement), and supplementing with vitamin D.
Erin and Sally both suggest supporting your diet with immune supporting nutrients which are not usually found in a regular diet or multivitamin such as:
- Bee propolis (It has natural antibiotic and antiviral properties and doesn’t over stimulate the immune system like some ingredients can so it is suitable to take daily (propolis has over 2000 studies on its use for human health.)
- Black elderberry contains Vitamin C and other phytonutrients which have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant actions and has been shown in studies to reduce the number of sick days.
- Olive leaf is a potent antimicrobial and antioxidant agent with proven benefits.
- Acerola cherry is an extremely rich and concentrated source of vitamin c and antioxidants
- Beta-glucans have been found to help aid the body in creating antibodies to fungal and bacterial infection and has a history of efficacy for strengthening the immune system.
- Acerola cherries – they provide more vitamin C than any other food source.
Bee Prepared Immune Formulas contain concentrated amounts of all of the unique and beneficial nutrients above and more, plus they are vegetarian, all-natural and suitable for most ages.
It’s easy to ensure your immune system is fighting fit by eating well, getting exercise, staying well rested & hydrated. It’s also important to reduce sugar and refined carbohydrates which tax the immune system by feeding bacterial growth and contributing to inflammation in the body. According to Erin, ‘by reducing these foods, your immune system can more efficiently focus on bacteria and virus-cell invaders to ward off colds, flu and other illnesses’.
Good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is key to optimum health and a healthy immune system.
Immune Boost Smoothie Recipe
by Sally Wisbey, Nutritional Therapist
- Half a banana
- 1 apple (core removed)
- ¼ cucumber
- 1 handful of baby leaf spinach
- 1 small handful of berries
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp organic plain yoghurt (either add in or dollop on top)
- Capsule contents of 1 Bee Prepared Immune Formula (Daily or Max)
Simply blast in a high speed blender
Sally says: These nutrient-dense foods contain good levels of magnesium, zinc and folate, all of which are required to fight infections & are abundant in antioxidants, vital for a healthy immune system. Bananas are rich in potassium, a key electrolyte that helps restore energy and fights headaches, both often associated with infections. Bee Prepared supplements have a plethora of immune boosting ingredients in concentrated amounts. Ginger has a wonderful anti-inflammatory action, helping to reduce sore throats or stomach cramps from viral and bacterial infections & also contains anti-nausea properties and is calming on the digestive system, making it the perfect ingredient when feeling sick from winter bugs.