Foods and Immunity
Well here we are entering the flu season… hmmm…wait a minute…is it just me, or does it feel like we were launched into the flu season months ago?!?!
It is hard to know exactly what we can expect this fall, but I would think that, with all the current safety precautions in place, we may actually see fewer incidents of the flu. However, not knowing how COVID-19 will impact other flu viruses (or vice versa), it is probably a good idea to be proactive by taking steps to build up your immune system.
There is a lot of information out there urging people to increase their intake of certain immune-supportive vitamins and minerals, like ACESZ (vitamins A, C, E and minerals Selenium and Zinc), and I completely agree!!!
Vitamins A and C are found in many vegetables, vitamin E in high-fat whole foods like, pumpkin seeds and avocado. The best food source for selenium is Brazil nuts, but it is also in whole grains and shellfish. Oysters, red meats, egg yolks, whole grains and legumes are high in zinc.
However, there are other actions that you can take that are equally as important.
Here are a few tips to safeguard your immune system in the midst of COVID-19 and as we approach the flu season:
- Reduce sugar consumption. Mary Poppins told us that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down BUT research has shown that a teaspoon of sugar can suppress our immune system for 30 minutes or longer immediately following consumption. Sugar and processed carbs (that break down into sugar in your body) can reduce the ability of our white cells to defend us against bacteria and viral intruders.
- Eat shiitake mushrooms. In my opinion, mushrooms are grossly underrecognized in the health and nutrition world, but as a group, they are powerful!! I could go on at length on their myriad health benefits, but I won’t (not in this blog anyway ). Here I shall keep it on topic and briefly talk about shiitakes. These guys are amazing! They support the immune system, are antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and support healthy skin. They are readily available in grocery stores and delish! (If you are not a fan of mushrooms, you can get them in supplement form, too.)
- Eat probiotic foods. There is a significant and powerful connection between our gut microbiome and our immune system. These good guys regulate the function of immune cells found in the mucus layer of our gut and in our intestinal lining. They produce anti-viral and anti-bacterial substances that help prevent bad guys from sticking to mucus and they break down toxins produced by the bad guys. They also outcompete the bad guys for food and space. Examples of probiotic foods are kombucha, raw fermented kimchi and sauerkraut and plain yogurt.
Other things you can do are manage stress levels and ensure 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
Stress depletes key vitamins and minerals, and the stress hormone, cortisol, shuts down the immune system in favour of the fight-or-flight response.
And sleep supports our immune system by supporting our good gut bacteria; by reducing inflammation, improving our ability to fight off infections; and helping us cope with stress.
Krista is currently accepting new clients, so if you are interested in getting individualized recommendations and support, click here to book a free 30-min discovery call. Krista is offering members of the Yellowknife Racquet Club a 20% discount on her consulting services until the end of the year.
Krista can be found on Instagram (@gut.brain.nutritionist) and on Facebook (@pre.alzheimers.nutritionist).
Krista Amey lived in Yellowknife for 12 years before moving to Vancouver to become a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant™. And while Krista has always been curious about the relationship between health and nutrition, her career change was inspired by her mother’s Alzheimer’s. Krista has truly deepened her interest and has turned it into a mission – helping people in their 40s and 50s, improve their cognitive function and lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. HAVING SAID THAT, however, Krista is VERY PASSIONATE about helping anyone and everyone improve their overall health – whatever that looks like to them – whether it is to lose some unwanted weight; improve digestive, immune or cognitive function; reduce inflammation; etc.
Krista’s method is step-by-step so not overwhelm, is supportive and highly personalized, as she recognizes that each and every one of us is different in so many ways.
Krista meets with her clients virtually through Zoom video conferencing. She offers free 30-minute discovery calls, which provide an opportunity to tell her about your health concerns and gives a chance to see if there is a good fit to work together. Krista is offering members of the Yellowknife Racquet Club a 20% discount on her consulting services until the end of the year.
Krista can be found on Instagram (@gut.brain.nutritionist) and Facebook (@pre.alzheimers.nutritionist). Click here to book a free 30-min discovery call.