Whether you’re feeling fit as a fiddle or seriously ill with a life-threatening disease, it is of fundamental importance to have a healthy diet. Recent research has provided considerable support for some traditional advice, such as the importance of drinking water and eating fruit and vegetables, while also revealing the dangers of consuming certain commonly-available food products.
After studying the research, I’ve compiled my top ten tips for boosting your immune system. Don’t worry if you can’t face following them all at once – you can follow them in steps, and very soon you’ll be maximising your body’s ability to function efficiently, ward off disease and heal itself.
1. Drink plenty of water.
You’ve probably heard it before: we’re composed of 70% to 80% water – it’s true! As well as being the main component of blood and other body fluids, water plays a vital role in maintaining correct body temperature and flushing toxins out of the body. You should aim to drink at least 2 litres a day.
Please be choosy with your quality of water and be careful of water filters that can cause more issues than prevent them. For example, the Brita water filter pitcher uses an activated carbon filter that removes chlorine, zinc, copper, cadmium and mercury, however, it doesn’t remove all nitrates, dissolved minerals or bacteria or viruses in water so these pass freely through the filter.
I have researched and used the best, safest and most cost-effective water filtration bottle called Puritii. Puritii water filters remove biological, chemical and emerging contaminants. “Emerging contaminants” are chemicals that have been detected in the global drinking supply at trace levels and they include pharmaceuticals, personal care product chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and endocrine-disrupting compounds.
The investment of the Puritii water filter system equates to £0.25p per litre of water (cheaper than buying bottled water!). The filter lasts for 365L of water before needing replacement. So, if you drink 2L of water a day, this lasts for 6 months.
Fruit and vegetables are simply the best kinds of food for us. First, they are high in fibre, which is essential for the digestive system to work efficiently. Colonic and heart diseases, as well as MS, diabetes and obesity are all highly associated with a low-fibre diet. Second, they provide a variety of essential minerals and vitamins. Thirdly, most fruit and vegetables contain pigments such as carotenes and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that provide significant protection against cancer, heart disease, strokes and naturally boost our immune system.
Please aim to have these 10 super immune boosting foods in your diet weekly:
Curcuma Root (fresh turmeric)
I recommend a 36 superfood liquid tonic to ensure you get the above 10 and 26 more powerful ingredients like noni, bergamot, maitake and reishi mushrooms as well as well as mangosteen and aloe vera. Just take 1 pouch a day of this superfood juice liquid tonic that will help to naturally increase your vitamin and mineral profile.
Having now persuaded you (I hope!) of the importance of fruit and vegetables, I should now point out that organic produce is best. There are over 400 different pesticides and fertilisers used in crop-farming. Many of these artificial chemicals have been linked to cancer, and it is no wonder that farmers themselves have an increased incidence of myeloma and leukaemia. Organic produce is grown without the use of any of these harmful chemicals, and it is therefore much safer. My rule of thumb here is to choose organic foods for those ingredients you eat a lot of to avoid the accumulation of pesticide residue. So, if you love apples and eat them daily, then choose organic apples!
4. Consume fish and fish oils.
As well as providing us with nucleic acids needed for our cells, fish naturally provides oils which neutralise harmful free radicals in the body (free radicals are highly reactive molecules that rip parts off healthy molecules – such as DNA – often leading to reduced immune system and leading to disease). Great choices of oily fish are wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout.
If you’re interested in the purest, cleanest omega supplements then try this one.
Remember a few years ago we were all being told to ‘Drink a pint of milk a day’? Research now shows that cows’ milk, while extremely good for baby cows can be harmful to humans because the high levels of fat and protein in milk prevent the absorption of the mineral zinc, which is necessary for vitamin C absorption. Secondly, some dairy products have been found to contain hormones, antibiotics, toxins and pesticides, all of which can have a damaging effect when consumed over a period of time. ‘But what about calcium’ you may be wondering. Don’t worry, we can get it from the same place that cows get it – leafy green plants - for cows the plants are grass, for us they’re vegetables! Try some great plant-based milks like oat, rice, almond, cashew, hazelnut, hemp and pea.
6. Cut down on sugar and saturated fats.
Sugar can have a devastating effect on health because, A, it imbalances the levels of minerals in the body; B, it disrupts the functioning of glands; and C, it suppresses the immune system. Equally destructive are saturated fats and oils, such as those in animal fat (meat and dairy), as well as in junk, processed and fast foods.
7.a. Avoid food additives – especially colouring agents and artificial sweeteners.
While some additives stop the growth of food-poisoning bacteria, the vast majority are used for cosmetic purposes - to give food more colour, or to give it a stronger, sweeter or creamier taste. Unfortunately, many additives have been found to cause health problems such as asthma, rashes and hyperactivity. Most alarming of all are nitrites (meat preservatives, E249 – E262) and artificial sweeteners, many of which have been linked to cancer.
7.b. Avoid chemical additives in personal care products too.
There is growing concern that topical use of chemicals in our personal care products can make their way into our blood stream and cause allergies and reactions leading to an impaired immune system. I personal try to use non-toxic alternatives where possible.
I adore Aromatherapy to naturally enhance my immune system, freshen and disinfect my home and build a natural defence barrier as a natural hand-wipe and to inhale when travelling on public transport, planes, visiting hospitals or crowded shopping areas.
I use Sentry Oil which is a defence blend with natural antiseptic oils to help fight off germs. Great for hands, diffusing, making a cleaner for door knobs, counter tops, children’s toys and I add a few drops to a hankerchief and keep in a ziplock bag in my handbag so I can inhale or wipe my hands.
Blended with the best ingredients, each of our blends has been formulated based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which for centuries has been structuring its oils to directly reflect royal hierarchy positions and their important roles in civilization.
Ingredient quality 100% therapeutic grade
No synthetic ingredients
Confirmed free of contaminants, microorganisms, and toxins.
What does Sentry do?
Cleanses and Detoxifies – Add some drops to water in a spray bottle and use it to clean counter-tops, tables, and handles.
Purifies Environment – Sentry neutralizes both pathogens and odours when used in a diffuser. Keep your home as clean as it looks, and the air you breathe naturally refreshed.
Strengthens and Protects – Place a few drops in water to support a healthy immune system.
How does Sentry work?
The cinnamon, clove, tea tree oil and other naturally cleansing extracts of this blend disinfect you and your home naturally, leaving a beautifully clean fragrance.
What ingredients are in Sentry?Impact Ingredients:
Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
Fractionated Coconut Oil
Purchase Sentry oil. This products lasts for 300+ days costing £0.18p a day if you use just 1 drop! I’ve had my bottle for 2 years and it’s incredible strength has served me well!
8. Reduce your intake of salt.
We get all the sodium we need from the natural ingredients of food. Unfortunately, the extra that we get from prepared foods, in cooking and as a condiment is not only unnecessary, but actually very harmful. Too much salt upsets the natural potassium-sodium balance and is thought to play a major role in the development of cancer and cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, strokes and high blood pressure. Try Himalayan crystal salt and throw the table salt away!
9. Strive for an alkalisingdiet.
You’ve probably heard of acid rain, but have you heard of the human equivalent, acidosis? The body performs best when slightly alkaline (a pH of 7.4), but most Western diets nowadays contain an abundance of acid-forming foods. A few years of this imbalance can lead to serious consequences, including heart disease and cancer. Try to cut down on acid-forming food and drinks like alcohol, cakes, chocolate, coffee, crisps, fizzy drinks, eggs, meat, milk, salt, sugar and tea. Instead, try to consume more alkalising food and drinks like most fruit and vegetables, green tea, herb teas, millet, fresh cracked nuts, seeds and raw soya products like edamame beans. This will naturally improve your immune system.
10. Take a regular supplement of minerals and vitamins.
As I’ve explained above, fruit and vegetables are by far the most important kinds of food for humans. In addition to most forming alkaline residues, and providing fibre and antioxidants, they give us essential minerals and vitamins. However, fruit and vegetables no longer provide them in the concentrations that they should because, A, soil is being depleted of minerals and vitamins due to over-farming; B, fruit and vegetables are often picked before the ripening stage when minerals and vitamins are formed; and C, the minerals and vitamins that were present when the fruit and vegetables were picked may well have broken down by the time the produce reaches the supermarket shelves. For these reasons it is wise to take a daily supplement.
I’ve tried to make this easy to understand and implement with the use of everyday foods you can incorporate into your regime.
I've also added some great products to purchase for those who need an extra boost and might not have the time to research all the best products, manufacturing certificates of those products and EU compliance of these great products. For your convenience, I have added them to my shop.
For another convenient alternative, you can find plenty of my immune-boosting recipes on the Plate Up app, as well as other top nutritionists' and chefs' recipes. It's a great app, easy to use and just £1.99 a month. Download the app here and get a free 14-day trial.