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Eating to maintain a balanced immune system

During this time when we are inundated with news regarding the Covid 19 and quite rightly, being told what we should be doing in order to prevent the spread as best as we can, I thought it would be good to share a few nutritional tips.

I think eating as varied a diet as possible is most beneficial and I particularly like the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, which sets out what we should try and eat over the course of a week.

Great foods to include as part of a varied diet include:

  • Foods rich in beta-carotene, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, cantaloupe melon, bell peppers, apricots and dark leafy greens. Beta-carotene is an anti-oxidant that converts to vitamin A and is particularly responsible for contributing to good skin, eye and lung health in addition to improving our mental abilities.

  • Citrus fruits for their vitamin C content, which is important for fighting off infections. Try to use these shortly after slicing as vitamin C is heat and light sensitive, resulting in it being destroyed over time when it is exposed to the atmosphere.

  • Foods containing vitamin E, which can be found in a wide variety of foods such as nuts and seeds, salmon or trout, avocados, chard, spinach and butternut squash. Vitamin E is also an anti-oxidant, helping to maintain healthy skin and eyes, and strengthen the body's natural defence against illness and infection.

  • Probiotics in the form of live yogurts, kefir, Yakult, kombucha and kimchi, which have the ability to enhance the human immune system.

  • Garlic has antifungal and antibacterial qualities and its antioxidant properties help to protects against cell damage and ageing.

  • Ginger contains a compound called Gingerol, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects – useful if you have a sore throat or are experiencing muscle pain.

  • Turmeric contains a compound that is both anti-inflammatory and an anti-oxidant. There are different suggestions as to how much to take – around two teaspoons a day in its ‘spice form’ or as a capsule. Just remember to consume turmeric with black pepper (or have black pepper with it in a capsule form), which enhances its aborption.

  • Green tea contains antioxidants, which help prevent cell damage. In addition, some studies show that catechins, a compound found in green tea, can kill bacteria and inhibit viruses.

So, in addition to the government guidelines, do try and vary your diet as much as you can to help keep your immune system balanced.

Take care of yourselves :-)


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