Tips to Boost Your Immune System

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As we transition from Fall to Winter – the days feel shorter and our energy levels fade – many of us succumb to colds and the flu due to depleted and run down immune systems. Below you will find a list of foods to focus on to help strengthen your immune system – keeping those viruses at bay, or helping you to fight them off faster!

Let’s start with one I’m sure all of you are aware of its positive impact…. Vitamin C!

While findings suggest that eating plentiful amounts of this micronutrient do not prevent illnesses, they do show that it decreases their duration. Vitamin C is not at all difficult to obtain in a balanced, healthy diet and it comes in many different fruits and vegetables. I’m sure you’re all saying “oranges!” and yes you are correct, oranges and orange juice are great sources of this vitamin, but did you know that strawberries and red peppers are too?! Just 1 cup of either contains more than is needed to hit your daily recommended intake! At this time of year fresh strawberries may not be plentiful, or they are certainly coming from far away places which minimizes their nutrient level as they are not so fresh, so why not buy frozen instead? Just because something is frozen doesn’t mean it is not a nutritious option, it may have slightly less vitamins and minerals, but likely the levels of such are still quite comparable to fresh and will support your daily needs.

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Tip for consuming fruits and vegetables: eat a variety of colours every day! This will ensure that you are obtaining lots of different vitamins and minerals – which will help your immune system stay strong!

Take Vitamin D3!

At our position on Earth, even on a sunny day at this time of year (all the way until May), our bodies are unable to synthesize this vitamin from the sun. Some foods will contain this vitamin in a form that your body can convert to the active form (especially seafood and egg yolks, mainly animal products), however it still might not be enough to support your body’s needs. I recommend taking a liquid supplement (or capsule if preferred) that contains 1000IU of Vitamin D3 EVERYDAY and always with food. This vitamin is fat soluble so it needs to be ingested with fat to make sure your body can absorb it properly.

Gut health is also very important when considering the immune system. If your gut health is sub-optimal (lots of digestive issues such as: bloating, constipation, etc.) then you likely have low levels of good bacteria helping to keep your gut microbiome flourishing and warding off viruses that come their way.  Having a balanced gut microbiome with lots of beneficial, live bacteria (probiotics) can not be understated. You may be wondering now, “But how do I get probiotics in my diet and what are they?” Probiotics are healthy, live bacteria that exist naturally in some fermented foods. There are no guidelines for how much you should get each day so try your best to include as many sources as you can, including:

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  • Yogurt with live active cultures added

  • Kimchi

  • Pickles made with a water and salt brine (not vinegar)

  • Sauerkraut

  • Miso

  • Tempeh

  • Sourdough bread

  • Kombucha

Try including one of these foods in your daily routine, and if you want to really build up that gut microbiome, try a probiotic supplement (found in many grocery and natural health stores).

Include some anti-inflammatory foods into your daily eating routine! Inflammation in our bodies builds when we eat a refined, processed diet. Not only will anti-inflammatory foods help lower inflammation, but they will also strengthen your immune system! Lots of foods fall under this category including: many fruits (tomatoes, berries, cherries, oranges etc.), leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards), nuts and seeds, whole grains and healthy fats (such as fish and good quality oils).

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Try this anti-inflammatory tea! Sip on it throughout the day or upon waking to also kick-start your metabolism.

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If you have more questions about how to strengthen your immune system, or other nutrition related concerns, be sure to book a consult with me – Loyobo FIT’s in-house Holistic Nutritionist! Email lori@loyobofit.com.

Take care of yourselves:)

– Lori