For World Health Day (7th April 2021) we have partnered with leading nutritionist, Jenna Hope, to offer a range of tips for anyone looking to boost their immunity as lockdown restrictions begin to relax across the UK.
Jenna, Linwoods Health Foods ambassador and registered nutrition consultant, said: “World Health Day is a chance for everyone to stop and take stock of the ways in which they can improve their health and support their own natural immunity. It’s even more important as we all start to enjoy socialising with family and friends as lockdown restrictions ease, but many still await either their first or second COVID vaccinations.
“There are so many factors that affect immunity, but ensuring you get sufficient nutrients through your diet is just one way you can support your own system – so I’ve pulled together a few tips on the small steps people can take to protect their immunity and improve their overall health along the way.”
1. Increase zinc
Zinc is a key nutrient which allows immune cells to multiply. Oysters, nuts, green leafy vegetables, seeds and dark chocolate are also brilliant sources of zinc. Try combining dark chocolate with some nuts for a great afternoon pick-me-up. Nuts and dark chocolate are great for snacking on the go which can be useful now that our social lives are starting to pick back up!
2. Increase Omega-3
Omega-3 plays a crucial role in reducing inflammation in the body – which is a normal immune response which can be caused by bad (pathogenic) bacteria. Ensuring you’re consuming one portion of oily fish per week or one portion of flaxseeds or chia seeds daily can help to support the immune cells. Linwoods Milled Flaxseeds are great for adding to baked goods such as brownies, banana bread or even to sprinkle on your soup or salad. They provide 4g of ALA Omega-3 per 20g serving. Omega-3 from plant sources is required on a daily basis to provide ample amounts.
3. Ensure Adequate Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in producing T-cells, a type of white blood cell which help to support your immune function. Getting adequate Vitamin D in the UK is challenging as the main source is the sun. Now the weather is brightening up, ensure you’re getting out for 20 minutes per day (without SPF), the sun exposure will allow the skin to synthesise Vitamin D. On darker days, you can always add Linwoods Milled Flaxseed, BioCultures and Vitamin D to your overnight oats or sprinkled on your avocado toast to get 5ug of Vitamin D per serving!
4. Eat a Variety of Plants!
Plants are a great source of fibre and with 70% of immune cells located in the gut we need to ensure plenty of fibre consumption to support the immune cells, as well as nurturing a healthy gut. Fruit, vegetables, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds are all diverse fibre sources. Diversity is also key to a healthy gut so ensure you’re mixing up your dietary sources. Linwoods Milled Flaxseeds, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts and CoQ10 are a great way to increase diversity in the diet. Try adding this blend to yoghurt, granola, cereal or your smoothie before work in the morning.
5. Prioritise Sleep
As our social lives start to open up again, it’s important that we aren’t compromising on sleep for our plans. Sleep is a key player in supporting the immune system – it’s where repair and restoration occurs. When we lack sleep our ability to repair and restore is reduced which can contribute to a weakened immune system. Impaired sleep may also be a contributor to increased inflammation which makes the immune system work even harder.
6. Limit Stress
It’s been a stressful year for so many and producing the stress hormone cortisol requires a large number of micronutrients which can leave you depleted of the micronutrients needed for other roles in the body. Therefore, focusing on reducing stress can help preserve micronutrients for their true roles without increasing requirements in the body.
7. Consume a Range of Fermented Foods
Fermented foods provide live bacteria which can house themselves inside the gut. This contributes to a healthy gut which is essential for supporting the immune cells located there. Fermented foods include miso soup, kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir.
8. Pack in the Protein
Protein is a really important macronutrient which is needed to produce the messengers which alert the immune system it’s under attack. Recommendations are to consume between 0.8-1g of protein per kg of bodyweight. However, if you’re heading back to the gym you may need slightly more. Linwoods Shelled Hemp provides 7g of protein per 20g serving making it the perfect addition to soup, smoothies, and your cereal.