Top tips for boosting your immune system this winter from nutritional therapist Lucy Grainge (From News Shopper)
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Top tips for boosting your immune system this winter from nutritional therapist Lucy Grainge
2:23pm Friday 4th October 2013 in Leisure latest news
NUTRITIONAL therapist Lucy Grainge Dip ION, mBANT, CNHC reg has more letters after her name than Calvin Klein did when I spilt a bowl of alphabetti-spaghetti over one his t-shirts.
The Chislehurst-based expert has some top tips for boosting your immune system this winter. Find out more about Lucy at thefoodowl.co.uk.
Reduce sugary foods
As well as wrecking your teeth, sugar suppresses your immune system too.
Immunity in children has been shown to be suppressed by 50 per cent for upto five hours by just 100 grams of sugar.
Sugary foods and drinks, plus the hidden sugars in cereals, biscuits, ketchup, baked beans to name but a few, provide empty calories that rob nutrients from your body in order to process them.
So if you come down with a cough don’t be tempted to use throat sweets, this is counter-productive as they are mostly pure sugar.
The exception to this is Manuka honey which has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.It is delicious on toast, in natural yogurt or stirred into hot water with lemon juice. Buy the Manuka honey with high ‘activity’, e.g. Comvita, but don’t give it to under ones because of a small risk of botulism.
Increase antioxidants especially vitamin C and Zinc
Antioxidants protect the body’s cells from damage by free-radicals produced when combating viruses.
Vitamin C is present in all fruit and vegetables - the fresher they are, the higher the vitamin C content. The best sources are broccoli, parsley, kiwi, citrus fruit, sweet peppers and blackcurrants.
Zinc helps increase the number of virus-fighting white blood cells during an infection but many of us are deficient because of our diet of processed food, sugar and stress. Smokers are especially likely to lack vitamin C and zinc.
Top up with shellfish, chicken, lean red meat, eggs, seeds, nuts and wholegrains. Enjoying nuts and seeds as snacks and having eggs on wholegrain toast for breakfast are simple ways to supply some useful zinc.
Boost your Vitamin D
Vitamin D is vital for immune function. The body makes the majority of it from sun exposure on the skin, however because of our northerly latitude in the UK we are unable to make vitamin D in the body from October-March.
The Government therefore suggests that pregnant and breastfeeding women take a 10mcg daily supplement and give vitamin drops with 7.5mcg vitamin D to their children from 6 months to 5 years old. Only a small amount of foods have vitamin D: oily fish, such as salmon and sardines (50g has 6.5mcg vit D), eggs (one egg has one mcg vit D), corn flakes, liver (not more than once a week) and butter.
A lack of vitamin D is linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder (= the winter blues) so if you find your mood is low during the short winter days, make sure you include at least one of the above foods daily, and consider supplementing vitamin D.
This information is not a substitute for medical advice. If you have concerns, contact your GP. Nutritionists and nutritional therapists can offer advice to help support long term health improvement. Find one near your at bant.org.uk
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