food as medicine

Immune boosting foods

by Elysia Humphries - Naturopath on June 6, 2014 · 1 comment

Coming up to the winter season, it is important to strengthen your immune system to become resilient to external invasion from colds and flu’s. Your lifestyle may also be contributing to a weakened immune system, including the following:

  • Unbalanced diet
  • Poor environment
  • Poor sleep
  • Congested lymphatic system
  • Long-term stress and extreme psychological stress
  • Impaired intestinal micro-flora balance (digestive issues)
  • Long term strenuous physical exercise
  • Lack of exercise
  • Overuse of drugs, including alcohol and smoking

Your immune system in an amazingly complex system that has the ability to protect your body from external invaders. It is comprised of organs including the thymus, spleen and lymph nodes as well as tissues and cells (including white blood cells.) As a Naturopath, I educate my clients about the amazing foods and herbs that natures provides us with to boost our immunity and reduce our risk of getting sick. Also, if you do get sick, these tips will help you get better faster.

Helpful foods include:

Bioflavonoid  rich foods – cabbage, green peppers, parsley, carrots, broccoli, turnips, parsnips, horseradish, garlic, lemon juice, grapefruit, most fruits.

Avoid the following foods:

Refined sweet foods, salty foods, excess dairy, eggs or other mucous forming foods (Pitchford 2002, p. 69-70)

Immune Boosting Foods

Using food as medicine is a powerful way to support your immunity during winter.  When your immune system is functioning well it reduces the chances of developing a cold or infection as well as reducing the length and severity of time that it take you to recover.

As well as eating more of these foods it is important to remember that you give your body time to rest, this means that you have time out and reduce stress (as much as possible!) to rest and ensure that you enough sleep. And of course drink lots of room temperature/warm water. Gargle with warm salt water for sore throat.

Having easier to digest foods such as stews, casseroles and congees (or any meal where all the ingredients are cooked in the one pot) means there is less strain on the digestive system and the nutrients in the food are absorbed by the body more effectively. Plain steamed rice and boiled eggs are also useful.

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