Fruits and Vegetables to support your Immune System

Immune health and Immune support for us big kids and your little ones too…

 

The food we eat is one of the most important tools we have to help prevent illness and disease.

Your immune system protects your body by defending against viruses and bacteria which can cause inflammation in the body, resulting in illness and disease. Certainly, a healthy body begins with a healthy immune system!

 

Fruit and especially vegetables have many properties to heal, nourish and boost your immune system. ALL fruit and vegetables support a healthy digestive and immune system; however, some are more immune supportive than others. So here are my top 10 fruits and vegetables to help supercharge your immune system...

 

1 – Leafy Greens:

Their high level of nutrients coupled with many potent, immune enhancing Phyto (plant) chemicals, results in much – needed virus protection at this time, not just for protecting against Coronavirus but also heading into our winter where we are more susceptible to colds and flu.

There’s a reason why leafy greens are in season during winter! I firmly believe that nature provides what we need to survive, thrive and be healthy. And she gives us leafy greens in winter. Green vegetables have more nutrients per calorie than any other food. Greens are as nourishing as it gets!

Sauté some spinach leaves or kale (stems removed) in Ghee (this is clarified butter with many nutrients, available from Source Bulk foods in Dural), coconut oil or organic grass-fed butter with fresh garlic, sea salt and pepper. For extra flavour and nutrition squeeze lemon juice over too.

Add baby spinach leaves into a smoothie, or even kale (stems removed). I add these to my daughter’s smoothies all the time. The flavour disappears behind strong flavours like berries and a plant-based vanilla or chocolate protein powder. I know a great one I would be happy to send you a sample of.

Always add healthy fats to your greens (ghee, coconut oil, olive oil or grass-fed butter) as it greatly assists the absorption of nutrients from veggies and salads. Plus, they make them so much more appetising.

 

Kids and Greens!

What is it with kids and greens? Most refuse to eat them. So, if greens are off the cards for your kids there are a few things you can do to bring them around….

• Keep eating them yourself! It is essential to always demonstrate healthy eating.

• Always offer them. There isn’t a dinner I don’t serve up that does not have greens added in some way. You can also put them in a self-serve bowl and encourage them to serve up some themselves (children love to participate as they feel independent this way). If they are younger, then continue to place it on their plates every day.

• Get them involved preparing greens. Washing or spinning the leaves in a salad spinner is fun!

• Grow your greens. Encourage them to water them and watch them grow. Then pick them and prepare them for meals.

• Add them to curries, casseroles, stir fry’s and soups. I cut up zucchini and other veggies and cook them in with a pasta sauce. Be sure to add them last in the cooking stage as prolonged cooking destroys many of the nutrients in greens so mixing in last minute is the way to go. Chop them finely if you must ‘hide them’.

• Make a pesto. They can dip carrots, celery, cucumber or crackers into the pesto.

• Don’t give up!



2 – Citrus

Citrus such as oranges. Mandarins, grapefruit, lemons and limes are an excellent source of vitamin C which helps maintain the bodies defence against bacterial infections. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon or lime into a glass of warm water, drink first thing in the morning and throughout the day. Try to include the zest of citrus where possible, over salads or veggies.

 

3 – Pineapple

The bioflavonoid bromelain in pineapple is a proteolytic enzyme (meaning it breaks down proteins). It is thought to boost immune function and has anti-inflammatory properties which help to open up the airways. In nutritional medicine, bromelain is often used to support sinus conditions. It reduces the swelling and mucus production and helps to clear both upper and lower respiratory congestion.

Cut it up and enjoy as is or throw fresh pineapple into a smoothie with ginger and turmeric for even more immune boosting and healing benefits.

 

4 – Berries

My fave! They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and polyphenols that help promote health immune function. Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries are all so beneficial to not only our overall health but our skin too. Buy organic if possible, if not be sure to wash thoroughly before consuming.

 

5 – Brassicas

The brassica family of vegetables includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts and turnips. They are rich sources of many detoxifying and potent immune boosting, protective Phyto-chemicals. They’re also great sources of vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Steam them, sauté them or roast them.

 

6 – Carrots

Carrots contain vitamin A precursors called carotenoids (beta carotene) that are essential for a healthy immune system.

 

7 – Papaya

Vitamin C and beta-carotene (which converts to vitamin A) in papaya are both needed for the proper function of a healthy immune system. Papaya may therefore be a healthy fruit choice for preventing such illnesses as recurrent ear infections, colds and flu. The enzyme papain found in papaya is anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce mucous production also.

 

8 – Ginger and Turmeric

Ginger and turmeric are my two favourite immune boosting herbs. True gifts from nature.

Studies have shown that ginger has potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It helps to boost immune function and combat cellular damage.

Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric, responsible for the distinct yellow colouring and the impressive list of health benefits. Curcumin is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, detoxifying and amazing for digestive health. Turmeric has been linked to the prevention of cancer cell growth and management of inflammatory conditions such as asthma, eczema and inflammatory bowel disease. It is a nutritional powerhouse, rich in manganese, zinc, B group vitamins and iron.



9 – Mushrooms

ALL mushrooms, but especially shitakes are amazing immune boosters. In herbal medicine, studies have proven their immune enhancing action. They are also very nutritious, and you can buy them fresh or dried in health food stores. Use them like a normal mushroom. Add to scrambled eggs, omelettes, soups, stir fries etc.

 

10 – Garlic

Add garlic to everything you cook. Studies suggest that consuming garlic daily may prevent and shorten the duration of colds. Include it where you can.

 

Lastly, remember to make sure good quality sources of protein are part of your and your children’s daily diet. Along with plenty of clean filtered water. Dehydration does not allow the body to function well and our immune response suffers. Get sunshine daily for vitamin D and as much good quality sleep as possible. Restorative sleep is also paramount for Immunity.



Sending love and wellness.

Nicole Frost INHC HHP.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Hormone health Specialist.

Founder – Glow Wellness.