per year from
Lauren Atkins is a Senior Oncology Dietitian, Accredited Practising
Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist and co-founder of her business OnCore
Nutrition. She has ten years expertise in oncology and haematology
through work at various specialist hospitals and her private practice in
Melbourne. Lauren also has a free to access Nutrition Podcast - OnCore
Nutrition Two Peas in a Podcast. Website: www.oncorenutrition.com
FEATURE ARTICLE WINTER 2020
DIET AND LIFESTYLE TO
BOOST YOUR IMMUNE
Seven sure-fire ways to naturally support your
immunity, with dietitian Lauren Atkins.
Our immune system declines by about
2-3% per year from our 20s, but
fortunately a healthy diet and lifestyle
can help lower this decline. Read on for
OnCore Nutrition’s top seven tips to
optimise your immune system.
1. Spice up your life
Using herbs and spices in your cooking
will boost your antioxidant and
polyphenol intake to support immune
function. These have antimicrobial
properties and may assist with natural
detoxification processes. Polyphenols
can improve the immune response and
may be protective against cancer and
various other chronic diseases.
} Warm up with dishes full of turmeric,
chilli, cayenne pepper, garlic, onion,
ginger, cinnamon and cloves.
We also know that getting 7-9 hours of
sleep can boost the spread of T-cells,
which fight infection in the body.
} Take time out to reset with relaxation
exercises like yoga and meditation.
} Get into nature, walk the dog or with
a friend, or take a bath.
} Prioritise sleep, set a routine and make
your bedroom a sleep sanctuary.
3. Watch your sweet tooth
Our immune systems need
carbohydrates to function, but we need
to be savvy about which ones we
choose. Eating or drinking quick release
and simple sugars can reduce the activity
of certain white blood cells called
neutrophils that protect us from unfriendly
bacteria, and we don’t want that!
The best energy foods are complex,
slow release (low GI) carbohydrates like
wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and
legumes. Keep sweet drinks,
cakes, biscuits and desserts for
} Eat plenty of fresh veggies, fruit,
nuts and seeds each day.
} Drink green or black tea.
} Dark chocolate and extra virgin olive
oil are delicious sources of
antioxidants and polyphenols.
2. Stress less and sleep well
We realise this is easier said than done
when the world is in crisis mode but
when we’re stressed, the brain
produces more cortisol to prepare the
body for emergency situations. In doing
so, it depresses our immune system.
YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE