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Looking after your immune health

With COVID drawing our attention to our health more and more of us are looking for ways to make sure that we are fighting fit as we get back to our ‘new’ normal lives.

With that in mind here are four foodie tips to make sure that you are providing your body with the tools it needs to be as healthy and strong as possible.

 

Support your gut health 

If you want to look after your immune health then you need to start looking after your gut. This is because good gut bacteria play an important role in supporting our immune health. Why?

Well for a start a proportion of our immune cells are actually located around our intestine.  As our gut lining is very thin to allow nutrients to pass through it is important that our army of immune cells within our intestine are fit and well to be able to prevent any damage coming to the nearby immune hub. One way to make sure those gut bugs are happy is to make sure you are getting plenty of fibre (we need about 30g a day) as it is their favourite food and will help them to flourish and in turn support you to feel tip top.[i]

 

Maximise exercise recovery

With gyms reopening their doors many of us are eager to get back to lifting those weights again. Whilst in the long run being physically fit can help to keep our immune system strong, the strain it puts on your body can temporarily weaken it.[ii] So if you are running towards the gym doors be sure to make a conscious effort to get your daily requirement of protein (0.75g of protein per kg of bodyweight) in small amounts throughout the day. Not only does this support your muscles growth and repair post exercise but it also helps to support your immune function which can take a knock while the body repairs after exercising. 

Top tip! Eating protein alongside a little carbohydrate can enhance the amount of protein that reaches your muscles and in turn how well your muscles recover.[iii]

 

Ensure you are getting the best out of what you eat 

Being deficient in certain vitamins can mean that our bodies are not able to get all the nutrients from the food we eat. Included in this is vitamin B12, a nutrient which people with a low intake of animal-based food products can be low in and vitamin C. As well as helping us get energy and nutrients from our food they also actually play a role in the function of our immune system too.  If you are concerned you might not be getting enough vitamin B12 look out for fortified products or perhaps consider taking a vitamin B12 supplement.[iv] 

 

Start thinking about vitamin D 

As we start to move into September it is even more important that you start to look at where you are getting your vitamin D from. This is because through October to March we are not able to make vitamin D through exposure to the sun meaning we need to look to food and supplements to get our daily requirement. This is really important because vitamin D also plays a role in supporting our immune health, something that we all need to be doing as we edge into winter.[v]

Adding a bag of our protein balls to your daily diet can help to bring all these vital elements to your body. Being high in fibre, a source of protein and fortified with vitamin D, C and B12 means that our tasty snack is perfect for having at hand when a snack attack hits.

 

References

[i] https://www.immunology.org/public-information/bitesized-immunology/organs-and-tissues/innate-immunity-in-the-large-intestine

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475230/

[iii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2706121/

[iv] https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1223

[v] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society/article/vitamin-d-and-immune-function-an-overview/302152110AEE222430F44164E53FEA90

 

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