Fight inflammation and feel fabulous with our expert immune strengthening tips
We can boost our immune system with the right diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are naturally anti-inflammatory and are found in oily fish, eat as much as you like of the smaller ones like anchovies and sardines, which are lower down the food chain and have a lower risk of toxins such as mercury than therir larger cousins. Tuck into flax and hamp seeds and oils, chea seeds and walnuts too, which are also naturaly high in omega 3. Keeping blood-sugar levels balanced also fights inflammation. Always have breakfast within an hour of wakening, eat every four hours if you can and have protein with every meal as it slows the release of carbohydrate sugars into the blood, which stops our blood sugar levels yo-yoing.
When they swing, we oveuse inslin, gain body fat and initiate inflammation. Too much insulin also triggers an inflammatory response that depletes the immune system and makes us more susceptible to illness. It would be better to eat eight or nine pieces of fruit and veg a day than five. Aim for a daily rainbow of colours, as the different hues bring different nutrients, and go for more veg than fruit to avoid a high sugar intake. Include purple veg for powerful antioxidents and green leaf veg for the relaxing mineral magnesium, which also helps the body absorb calcium and strengthens bones. Make simple switches, like using red cabbage for coleslaw and red onions for cooking.
Finally, we need whole grains, beans and pulses for inflammation-reducing B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium (good for the nervous, muscular, and cardiovascular systems,) potassium (essential for the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves, and digestive system to operate normally and for regulating fliuid ballance and blood pressure,) and B vitamins.
Antioxidents are lost from white refined products. Stick to wholemeal bread, brown rice and wholewheat pasta, and try other carbohydrate choices, such as quinoa, spelt and rye.
When it comes to your ‘avoid’ list, remember that saturated fat is thought to contribute to inflammation. Avoid, or eat only minimally, high-fat cheese and intensively reared meat. Free-range and organic meat, which has had room to roam and eat a natural plant-based deit, has a healthier fatty acid composition.
Refined sugar, as usedsweets and cakes, colas and processed food can spike blood-sugar levels and trigger the release of insulin, a hormone that may trigger inflammation.