The change in season can place greater demands on our immune system as we head into autumn where the temperature starts to take a dip. Along with the chillier days, it’s common to experience an increase in stress as your kids settle back into school life, your old routine kicks in and work pressures rise again after a quiet, laid-back summer. Let’s not forget the dreaded viruses that start circulating again too, with COVID-19 being a rather unwelcome additon to this years line-up! All of these factors can hamper our immune systems so we’re sharing our top 5 tips to eat yourself well this Autumn and boost immunity.
‘Eat the season’
Foods that are in season is likely to be tastier and fresher. Fresh food helps preserve nutrient content due to less travel time and processing plus it’s a great way to eat sustainably and benefits the planet. September’s nutrient dense veg include runner beans, courgettes and kale. Vegetables are nature’s low calorie, high fibre multi Vit; runner beans and kale, for example, give us an abundance of iron, beta-carotene, antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, zinc and magnesium. Don’t forget blackberry picking too! These berries are packed full of vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which are big immune system boosters. Pumpkin seeds from October pumpkins are a great source of zinc, an essential mineral for the immune system.
Feed your gut
This change is season can be a big challenge for our immune system and as over two-thirds of it is housed in our gut, it’s essential to keep it healthy. Increase your gut nourishing foods to help boost the beneficial micro-flora: all vegetables especially beetroot, carrots, broccoli; flaxseeds; omega 3s from fish; brown rice; tofu; and organic probiotic yoghurt. We also really recommended you get yourself on a probiotic in some form. For a dedicated supplement, we always hark back to Symprove (loved by Deliciously Ella and many others) and we also highly recommend The Beauty Chef powders for an all-around immunity boost along with other superfoods.
Cook from scratch
Batch cooking is key here so that you easily have healthful food to hand to whip up lunch salads and speedy suppers. Cooking from scratch as much as possible also minimises processed foods and helps reduce your sugar intake, which is often hidden in foods and has actually been shown to reduce white blood cells. Make sure you get good quality protein in every meal (eggs, oily fish, nuts, seeds, quinoa, probiotic yoghurt etc) to help deal with higher levels of the pesky stress hormone, cortisol, that can down-regulate the immune system.
Eat your greens!
Throughout Autumn there are some wonderful nutrient-dense greens on offer. Did you know that a portion of kale can deliver double your RDA of vitamin C? Along with iron, folate, calcium, antioxidant beta-carotene and potassium. Steam rather than boil as this is a better way to reduce nutrient loss through cooking.
Keep caffeine and cocktails to a minimum!
Time to make the most of the party lull before Christmas to help give your liver a rest as caffeine and alcohol give our livers extra detoxification work to do. Plenty of water sipped throughout the day and green smoothies will all help cleanse the liver and nourish the gut. Opt for plenty of garlic, ginger, artichoke and turmeric, which act as liver tonics too.