Supporting the immune system is something that we can all do year round, however as we move towards winter there are simple steps we can take to support our overall wellness.
Words: Alyce Cimino (BHs Naturopathy)
AHARA HEALTH, Newport
Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables are a big part of wellness and should be the main source of nutritional intake. Each vegetable and fruit has their own nutritional profile, which supports different areas of health. The aim is to enjoy a variety of colours, textures, shapes and sizes and enjoy them cooked in different ways. With each meal we want to aim for 50% of the plate to be full veggies, the rest of the plate is for protein, fibre and good fat.
If you are looking for fresh produce, head to the small independent stores and markets - they are bursting with colour and it’s always nice to shop small and local.
As we progress into winter, our body naturally craves warm and grounding foods. Now is the time to slowly move away from smoothies and salads, and towards soups and stews. Warm foods are also easier for the body to digest, they are also comforting during a time of illness.
GARLIC + ONION:
The immune superheroes of veggies. Add them into cooking, turn them into a soup, ferment them, add them into honey, chew them, roast them, and munch them raw. Garlic contains allicin, it naturally fights against respiratory, viral and bacterial infections. Allicin is at its strongest when raw and crushed/chewed, if you’re brave chew it or crush it and add it last minute into cooking or serving.
We are so lucky to have sunshine available year around in Australia, a sunny dose of vitamin D. Other than sunshine we can also get a small amount of Vitamin D from sardines, cod liver oil, egg yolks, organic liver, organic butter and button mushrooms. Vitamin D plays a key role on our overall immunity and others areas of health such as hormonal and emotional health. A small amount each day, out in the fresh air, can be beneficial for our overall wellbeing and happiness.
Protein provides our building blocks for repair and overall body wellbeing. We need to ensure we are having a small amount of protein with each meal (plant or animal) to support our immune system. If you are feeling unwell, slow cooked protein is ideal as it is easier to digest. There is nothing more comforting that a chicken soup when feeling unwell.
Herbal medicine has a range of different applications, Naturopaths and herbalists have the ability to create individualised blends based on the client needs in that moment. Some specific immune herbs include Echinacea, Astragalas, Andrographis, Thyme, Garlic, Elderberry, Mushrooms etc. Herbal medicine can interact with some medications and should be used under the care of a practitioner.
This is something we need less of generally, but it is extra important when feeling unwell. In the same way that sugar and refined or processed products give us quick energy, they do the same for bugs and viruses – gives them energy and encourages them to thrive. Now is the time to enjoy fresh and seasonal produce.
Please note this advice is general in nature and should be considered for each individual, this also does not intend to detract from any government advice regarding Covid-19. Thank you to Alyce Cimino from @ahara_health for the tips and to @tealily, @oakmedowclothing, @tessguinery and @shareekarlin for allowing us to use your beautiful images.