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Keep Taking Care of Your Immunity, so it Can Keep Taking Care of You

Keep Taking Care of Your Immunity, so it Can Keep Taking Care of You

Covid restrictions might be over, but taking better care of our immunity shouldn't be.
‘Immune-boosting’ is a term that we’ve heard a lot recently, but when it comes to our immunity, we shouldn’t be looking for a quick fix. The global pandemic encouraged many of us to take steps to better support our immunity, but as restrictions come to an end, how can we ensure that we continue to take care of our immune health?
Eat your greens

We all know that eating more vegetables is great for our health, but did you know that it can give us better protection against infections? Vegetables containing sulphur are particularly beneficial, thanks to the role that sulphur-containing compounds play in optimizing immune function[i].

Vegetables containing sulphur include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and leeks, so try to eat at least one portion of any of these veggies every day. To further boost the benefits, chopping up the vegetables will help to activate the compounds before you eat them, and lightly steaming is the cooking method to opt for in order to enhance the levels of the beneficial compounds[ii].

Walk away your worries

Stress can negatively impact many areas of our health – including our immune systems. This is because our immune cells have receptors for the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which can affect how the immune system functions. Because of this, prolonged stress is known to suppress the immune system, making us more vulnerable to infection[iii].

Getting outside is one of the best things we can do to reduce stress, particularly in areas with green space[iv]. Setting some time aside each day to remove yourself from potentially stressful situations, such as a work environment, to get outside and go for a walk in nature can help to reduce feelings of stress and the negative impacts that they can have on immunity.

Choose wholegrain

It’s recommended that we eat 30g of fibre a day, but the National Diet and Nutrition Survey shows that we currently eat far less than this, at around only 18g per day[v]. Eating enough fibre is key to good gut health, and as the gut is a major site of immune activity, it’s vital that we look after it so it can look after us.

There’s lots of easy ways to boost fibre intake – choose wholegrain bread and pasta over white, try and include beans in more meals and leave the skin on your vegetables and potatoes. Eating more of these high fibre foods will help to feed your gut microbes and have a protective influence over your immunity.

Vitamin D, every day!

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is especially important for our immune health thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects and ability to boost the production of immune cells. Deficiency in Vitamin D is associated with an increased susceptibility to infection[vi] – making it vitally important to ensure we’re consuming enough.

Our skin can make Vitamin D when exposed to the sun – but in countries such as the UK, we don’t get enough sunlight to do this for most part of the year. While there are food sources of Vitamin D, such as eggs and fortified cereals, it’s difficult to consume enough from our diet alone. This is why government advice is to take a daily supplement containing Vitamin D – especially in the winter months[vii].

Support your immunity naturally

It’s increasingly recognised that to look after your immunity, you need to look after your overall health and wider wellness. Along with Vitamin D, other essential nutrients including Vitamin B12 and Iodine are also required to maintain good health and immunity.

Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful® Immunity+ supplements contain all-natural and plant-based sources of Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Iodine - combining all the wonderful benefits of seaweed with added immunity support.

Click here to explore the full range of products and to discover the wonder of seaweed for yourself.

 

References:
[i] Miekus, N., Marszalek, K., Podlacha, M., Iqbal, A., Puchalski, C. and Swiergiel, A.H. (2020) Health benefits of plant-derived sulfur compounds, glucosinolates and organosulfur compounds. Molecules.
[ii] Wang, G.C., Farnham, M. and Jeffery, E.H. (2012) Impact of thermal processing on sulforaphane yield from broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. ssp. Italica). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
[iii] Dhabhar, F.S. (2014) Effects of stress on immune function: the good, the bad and the beautiful. Immunologic Research.
[iv] Kondo, M.C., Jacoby, S.F. and South, E.C. (2018) Does spending time outdoors reduce stress? A review of real-time stress response to outdoor environments. Health & Place.
[v] British Dietetic Association (2021) Fibre: Food Fact Sheet.
[vi] Aranow, C. (2011) Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of Investigative Medicine.
[vii] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/
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