Nutritionist Rachel Graham provides her expertise on the link between nutrition and the immune system and the ways you can influence your immune system through your diet choices.
Nutrition and the Immune System
How does our Nutrition affect our Immune System?
Nutrient deficiency is both the most common & frequent cause of a weakened immune system. Supporting your immune system is perhaps the single most important step you can take, to future-proof your long-term health.
A weakened immune system is often locked in a repetitive cycle that leads to frequent infections, colds and flu along with additional impaired immunity issues i.e.cold sores, swollen glands & slow wound healing.
Over time these frequent infections can further damage & negatively impact your immune system, weakening your resistance, and creating that ongoing recurring cycle that leads to illness.
To break the cycle, a consistent daily effort of optimised nutrition & lifestyle choices can really make a difference, resulting in greatly improved health outcomes in most people.
Fact is, nothing will impact your long-term health & immune function like a really good diet. To successfully strengthen your immune function, requires a daily intake of whole foods i.e. whole grains, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, healthy fats & quality proteins.
To highlight further how a healthy diet can impact & improve your overall immunity, it is important to be aware of certain key nutrients and their enhanced ability to boost your immune function.
Amongst these is vitamin D, which multiple research studies have shown can play a significant role in the function of your immune system.
How Vitamin D Improves Immunity
In a 2017 review published in Clinical Therapeutics (Chirumbolo, 2017), vitamin D is described as a ‘pro-survival molecule that is widely deficient in human populations, despite its utmost importance in an individual’s health’.
Maintaining healthy vitamin D levels is important for supporting the body’s ability to fight infection. We get our vitamin D from the sun’s UV rays. The risk of deficiency is higher during the winter months and many of us suffer from vitamin D deficiency due to lack of exposure & weak UV rays.
To maintain optimum vitamin D levels, try to include vitamin D rich foods daily i.e. oily fish, eggs, dark leafy green veg & foods fortified with vitamin D i.e Linwoods Milled Flaxseed with Bio Cultures & Vitamin D (see tip below) + Linwoods Immune Support which has been developed specifically to support your immune system. These products contain several of these key vitamins & minerals including sprouted milled flaxseed, vitamin D, hemp seed & live cultures (Ganeden BC30.
The gut microflora also plays an important role in the interactions with the immune system. Supporting a thriving, diverse, gut microbiome is an important part of ongoing immune health.
Certain strains of bacteria are required in greater numbers in your gut to maintain healthy immunity. Beneficial bacteria strains i.e. bifidobacterium lactis, increase our T-helper cells and natural killer cells enabling our immune cells to engulf & destroy invaders.
The beneficial strain Ganeden BC30 contained in Linwoods Immune Support and also in Linwoods Milled Flaxseed with Bio Cultures & Vitamin D, is a live culture that can withstand the harsh acidic environment of the stomach. This increases its absorption & availability in the small intestine, thus improving its ability to support your immune system.
Both of Linwoods immune-boosting products provide a tasty & convenient solution to help you achieve your recommended daily intake of vitamin D, beneficial live cultures along with a selection of health-promoting nutrients.
TIP: 20g serving of Linwoods Milled Flaxseed with Bio Cultures & Vitamin D is a tasty & convenient way to get 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin D + 6g of fibre, 4g of omega 3 & 4g of protein.
By including fermented foods in your daily diet, it provides the optimum sustainable solution for year-round protection. Foods such as live probiotic yoghurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, miso etc…
You don’t need large quantities of fermented foods, just sustained consumption from a variety of sources. This will supply your gut microbiome with multiple beneficial strains. It is the diversity of strains that creates the protective immune-boosting benefits. Lactobacillus organisms found predominantly in fermented foods produce antibiotic & anti-carcinogenic substances that contribute to our long-term immunity & good health.
It’s important to remember that a healthy immune system relies on a range of supportive diet and lifestyle factors too. In addition to the recommendations mentioned above:
- Eat The Rainbow – plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
- Get good quality sleep
- Manage stress and make time for daily relaxation
- Reduce your intake of refined white sugar and alcohol
(Chirumbolo, 2017) The Role of Vitamin D in the Immune System as a Pro-survival Molecule
Find out more about Nutrition and the Immune System by registering for our free webinar
Hi! I’m Rachel, here’s a little bit about me and how I can help you!
WHAT I DO:
I’m a Nutritional Therapist & Medicinal Chef with over 25 years of Food & Nutrition experience.
I work predominantly in Women’s Health with an emphasis on Menopause. This naturally incorporates gut health, heart health & hormone health.
I am an accredited Menopause educator from The British Menopause Charity. I am qualified to advise women of the various treatment options available to manage the symptoms of menopause, including:
- Alternatives to HRT(supplements, lifestyle & alternative therapies)
- Nutrition for Menopause – my new cookbook will be published in November 2022 with pre-orders open from September!
I run an online clinic with 1:1 consultations + group coaching specifically for Menopause
I also offer Meal Prep classes to give you the practical skills to improve your diet.
If you need help & would like to get in touch, just click here to book in for a quick chat.
Visit my website HERE