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How to Strengthen Your Immune System

Posted on Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Written by Live Life Get Active
Category: Nutrition

An overall healthy lifestyle is key to a healthy immune system!

What exactly is the immune system?

Your immune system is your first line of defence for invading bugs that can make you sick. It is made up of a vast network of immune cells that act like soldiers ready to attack any enemies. These soldiers are stationed in all of your organs and circulate around your body looking for invaders! The immune system helps to protect our bodies from things like the common cold to life threatening diseases.

How do I strengthen my immune system?

A healthy immune system comes from an overall healthy lifestyle. There is no one ‘superfood’ or supplement that will prevent infection and disease. It’s about making a range of healthy choices every day like these:

  • Eat lots of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains
  • Minimise processed foods and beverages high in sugar, fats and salts
  • Exercise regularly
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Don’t smoke
  • Get enough sleep
  • Practice good hygiene
  • Minimise stress

Top foods for a strong healthy immune system

All rainbow coloured fruit and vegetables

The different colours in fruits and vegetables are responsible for different vitamins like Vitamin C, which you need daily for a strong immune system. You will find lots of Vitamin C in capsicums, kiwi fruit and citrus fruit.

There are also many other vitamins essential for a strong immune system found in every other fruit and vegetable. This is why we recommend eating a VARIETY of colours EVERY day.

Garlic, ginger, turmeric and chilli

Alongside a good punch of flavour, they also contain vitamins and minerals that will strengthen the immune system, help fight harmful bacteria, reduce inflammation and alleviate the physical symptoms you feel when you’re sick with a cold.

Poultry

Chicken soup is a classic ‘go to’ when you need comforting and nourishing during a cold or flu. There is good reason behind this common conception. Chicken and turkey are high in Vitamin B6, which is an important player in the proper functioning of your immune system. Roast chicken, chicken mince or chicken broth are all good sources.

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are high in many vitamins that provide lots of health benefits. In particular, they are a good source of  vitamin E, which is important in maintaining good functioning of your immune system.

Will Vitamin C supplements boost my immune system?

There are many tablets and powders out there that claim to ‘boost immunity’. However, there is no credible evidence out there that shows a single vitamin supplement to ‘boost the immune system’ nor prevent infection. What we recommend is eating a variety of plant foods which will give your body easy access to a variety of vitamins.

This Week’s Recipe

This week we have created a base to a healthy soup full of foods that will help keep your immune system strong. This soup is designed to be made with whatever is in your pantry or whatever you can find in the supermarket. It doesn’t matter if one or two ingredients are missing, you will still be able to make an easy and nourishing soup.

Immunity Strengthening Soup – using whatever you can find or need to use up!

Here’s what we found for ours!

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 TBSP turmeric powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 TBSP ginger paste
  • 1 carrot, celery stick, capsicum and butternut squash
  • 1 bunch silverbeet
  • 1 handfuls of fresh rosemary and thyme leaves
  • 6 cups of chicken stock (you could also use 3 cups stock & 3 cups water)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of creamed corn
  • 2 cans white beans, drained

Method:

  1. Chop all fresh veggies into small cubes.
  2. Tear silverbeet leaves off stalks and put aside, chop up the stalks from the silverbeet and add with other veggies.
  3. Heat oil in large pot add onions, garlic and ginger, cook for 2 mins.
  4. Add veggies to pot: carrot, celery, pumpkin, capsicum, silverbeet stalks and cook for 8-10 mins or until they are starting to soften.
  5. Add tomatoes, herbs, stock, canned corn, and a pinch of salt and pepper, then let simmer for 30 mins.
  6. Add silverbeet leaves and canned beans then simmer for another 10 mins.

Serve!

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