It's getting colder, darker and the common colds and flu's are on their way. Not to mention Coronavirus too, of course. There's no time more important than to maintainability strong immune system against coronavirus and other common illnesses throughout the autumn/winter months. Having a healthy, well-balanced diet and excellent nutritional status is one way of ensuring this.
An adequate intake of zinc, iron, and vitamins A, B 12, B6, C, D and E is essential for the maintenance of immune function. A balanced diet will guarantee a strong immune system that can help withstand any infection of the virus.
HOW TO HAVE A WELL-BALANCED DIET
- Eat fruits and fresh vegetables daily (5-10 portions a day) with a serving size being 80g.
- Eat nuts, legumes (chickpeas and beans) and complex carbohydrates like wholemeal bread, brown pasta and rice, quinoa and sweet potato.
- For snacks, choose fresh fruits and raw vegetables rather than foods that are high in sugar, salt or fat.
- Do not overcook vegetables as it leads to the loss of important nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Did you know that the beauty of cold-pressing means all the nutrients remain during the processing of the juice?
- Include protein at every meal (check out our blog on plant-based protein sources). It is more effective to drip feed protein throughout the day rather than a large amount all at once.
- Limit the salt intake to 5g a day.
- Consume healthy unsaturated fats (found in avocado, fish, nuts, soy, extra virgin olive oil) rather than saturated fats (found in butter, fatty meat, coconut and palm oils, cheese and cream).
- Drink 8–10 glasses of water every day. It helps to transport nutrients in the blood, gets rid of waste, and regulates the body temperature. Avoid all fizzy, carbonated, concentrated juices.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise, meditation, and regular sleep. Adequate sleep will help to support immune functioning.
- Eat at home to avoid contact with other people and try to reduce the chance of being exposed to COVID-19.
- There’s no evidence of the virus being transmitted by food or food packaging. However, with COVID we should assume there is never a zero-risk situation so you should always practice safe hand hygiene before handling food and wash your fruit and vegetables.
SHOULD I BE TAKING SUPPLEMENTS?
There is currently no evidence that any supplement can ‘boost’ our immune system and treat or prevent any viral infections, except Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin which tends to make a strong immune system. The daily recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin C is 90mg/d for men and 75mg/d for women.
With more people staying indoors during the pandemic, some may have been deprived of vitamin D. Normally, many of us get it by spending time outside. Our skin makes Vitamin D when exposed to the sun, which supports the immune system and helps fight off infections.. We should consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily throughout the colder months.