4. Eat up those vitamin and
mineral rich foods
Many micronutrients are essential for a healthy immune
system: Vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, iron,
selenium and zinc.
You can get these naturally by including brightly coloured
fruits and vegetables, such as berries, citrus fruits, kiwi fruit,
apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes
and carrots. Nuts, seeds, avocado, oily fish and shellfish are
also loaded with nutrients that fire up our immune systems.
5. Love your guts
Our intestines encounter more pathogens than any other part
of the body. Given how many potential nasties enter our body
via the gut, it is vital that our gut-associated lymphoid tissue
(GALT) is primed to protect us. The GALT represents almost
70% of our entire immune system!
We all love potatoes, but did you know that cooked
and cooled potato, pasta and rice become high in
resistant starch - a type of carbohydrate that isn’t
broken down and absorbed by our body? The good
news is, fibre feeds the good bugs in our gut! Potato
salad, home-made rice salad and slightly-less-thanripe
bananas are all good sources of resistant starch.
FEATURE ARTICLE WINTER 2020
Many over-the-counter products claim to ‘boost’
your immune system, but there is little evidence to
show that they do. If you have a poor diet, it may
help to take a daily multivitamin, but the preference
is to get all your nutrients from food. The bottom line
is: eat well, follow the tips we’ve outlined, and your
immune system should have everything it needs to
Love your guts by:
} Including prebiotic fibres (see Dr Tim Crowe’s article, page 12).
} Laying off the heavily processed foods and
} Including fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, miso, tempeh
and kombucha if you’re into them!
6. Move it
Research tells us that we’re more likely to get sick if we don’t
exercise. The impact that exercise has on sleep quality might
also indirectly strengthen our immune system.
} Aim for 30 minutes a day, at least five days per week.
} Choose activities you enjoy (so you’ll actually keep
7. Drink up!
Staying hydrated helps your body naturally eliminate toxins
and other bacteria that might cause illness. Focus on water,
herbal tea and sparkling/soda water as your main fluids,
rather than sugary drinks or juices.
Body weight (kg)
Fluid needs per day
YMCA HEALTHY LIVING MAGAZINE 9