I am now fully settled in to the new HQ for the Greencuisine Trust just outside Stroud and further more I have at last got the internet! Sorted out my wormery and pot plants in the warm (actually hot) mid day sun yesterday wondering when we would have the first sharp frost. It is generally at this time of year as the weather changes we see an onslaught of infections so its a good idea to make sure you are supporting your immune system. Our immune system depends on many nutrients to work effectively and the ideal immune-boosting diet is really no different from the ideal every day diet but if you are a bit off track at the moment here are a few pointers.
The thymus gland produces hormones responsible for immune activity and special white blood cells called T cells, which destroy infected cells. T cell activity and the production of antibodies depend on vitamin B6. Spinach, turnip greens, leeks, cauliflower, broccoli and shiitake mushroom, all in season at the moment, are a good source of vitamin B6 as are whole grains.
Vitamin C intake is essential to immune function. Vitamin C helps immune cells to mature and improves the performance of antibodies and macrophage. Citrus fruits, cauliflower, broccoli and kale are good sources and all abundant at the moment. Other good sources are strawberries, blueberries and raspberries in the Summer and rosehip, elderberries and blackberries in the Autumn, preserve these fruits to have in the Winter months. Vitamin C along with vitamins A & E and zinc & selenium are important anti-oxidant nutrients – they disarm the free radicals which invaders produce.
Eat fresh green leaves every day. The chlorophyll in green leaves supports our immune system by combating unhealthy colonies of bacteria, yeasts & fungi in the body and reduces inflammation. Good bacterial balance in the gut is important for immune function so aim to eat plenty of lactic fermented vegetables.
If you work inside all day you are probably not getting enough sun to make vitamin D when we lack this vitamin our immune systems are vulnerable to bacteria and viruses. Eggs, yogurt and shiitake mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D also fatty fish. Eat plenty of good fats and minimise bad fats as they suppress the immune system. You will be able to read all about nourishing fats and the importance of the right fats for healthy & vital babies & young children in Living Food - a feast for soil & soul
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