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Winter Immunity

by Daphne Lambert

Individuals differ enormously in their ability to fight off infections and disease. Socio-economic status, environmental exposure, genetics, age, the gut microbiome and diet all affect immune response. The immune system is the body’s primary defense mechanism against foreign invaders such as pathogens, like bacteria & viruses, environmental toxins and antigens. It also protects against potentially harmful changes in our cells like cancer. The health of the gut microbiota and immune system are intertwined. This critical relationship is known as the gut-immune axis. A healthy gut wall is packed full of immune cells poised to protect the body when needed. Disruption of the bacterial balance that forms a layer on the gut wall compromises the immune system. Nourishing and supporting the gut microbiota is one of the most important things we can do to improve immunity and our overall health.

Support your gut microbiome * choose food grown in a regenerative growing system * eat lacto fermented foods regularly like sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, umeboshi

* include prebiotic foods daily like cabbage, beetroot, garlic, apples

* include glutamine rich foods like spinach, cabbage, walnuts, chickpeas

* eat plenty of polyphenol rich foods like broccoli, linseed, cacao, berries

* ensure your diet includes adequate omega 3 fats - hemp, algae, eggs from pastured chickens

* minimise sugar and avoid refined carbs which encourage growth of pathogenic bacteria

* avoid antibiotics, (if you have a choice)

* avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, they derail gut bacteria

* avoid excessive stress as this is a big factor in overall gut health

The human immune system evolved with, not separate from, the whole of nature. When we align with nature and eat nutritious food grown in a flourishing soil biology our diet helps support the immune system to respond most effectively to challenges. There are plenty of seasonal vegetables you can enjoy during the winter months. All are nutritious and a good source of phytonutriens,vitamins, minerals and other compounds to support immunity. Here's a list of some of the best UK grown vegetables, with just one or two benefits, of the many, for each one.

beetroot good source of fibre and iron, deficiency of iron causes immune dysfunction broccoli contains vitamin C which improves the integrity of gut mucous membranes Brussel sprouts great source of fibre and vitamin C both support gut health and immunity cabbage cabbage contains insoluble fiber, which keeps the digestive system healthy carrot alpha carotene & beta carotene in carrots support the immune response celeriac celeriac is an excellent source of fibre for gut health. garlic provides significant health benefits, including strengthening immunity, horseradish antimicrobial and antibacterial capabilities of horseradish root support immunity Jerusalem artichoke Jerusalem artichokes contain inulin, a prebiotic that supports a healthy gut kale omega 3 fatty acids in the form of alpha linolenic-acid in kale support gut & immune health leek source of soluble fiber, including prebiotics, which work to keep your gut healthy mushrooms source of vitamin D - deficiency of vitamin D increases susceptibility to disease onions excellent prebiotic providing food for beneficial gut bacteria parsnip good source of fibre for gut health

Follow this link for a nourishing Winter immunity soup

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Winter immumity
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