Though it’s never a good idea to stoke any fear or create unnecessary panic, it’s always a good time to be more conscious of your personal health. This will help keep everyone around you healthy, too.
Why the immune system is important
The immune system comprises a vast network of cells, tissues, and organs that coordinate your body’s defences against any threats to your health. It is made up of three lines of responses:
The first line is via your skin, saliva, mucous and other bodily fluids – these prevent pathogens from getting into the body. The second line is the inflammatory stage: your body’s response to initiate healing, which can happen localised/acutely or in chronic form – which, when chronic, can lead to other diseases if left untreated. The third line of defence includes that of your lymphocytes and the T- and B- cells – these are the ones that identify and kill pathogens and create antibodies.
Additionally, some dietary factors have been found to have immune-regulatory properties, including micronutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D or macronutrients such as Omega fatty acids.
In addition to practising good hygiene, common sense, getting enough sleep, it is highly recommended to stock up on these immune-boosting foods.
Foods high in Omega-3 & 6 Fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in regulating our genes, promoting blood clotting and regulating immune health. This is mainly due to their ability to reduce inflammation and their beneficial effect on inflammation-related disorders.
Omega-3 is found in B-WELL products like the B-WELL Canola oil and all the B-WELL Mayonnaise Range, including the sandwich spreads. It is considered one of the healthiest cooking oils, not only for low levels of saturated fats and its high levels of beneficial Omega-3, but also for its perfect ratio of 2:1 of Omega-6 to Omega-3. This ratio, recommended by The Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), makes B-WELL Canola Oils an excellent and accessible way of supplementing these essential fats into the food we cook for ourselves and our loved ones. Other sources of Omega-3 include:
– Fatty fish (like mackerel, sardines, salmon, tuna, trout…)
– Hemp seeds
– Linseed etc.
Foods with Vitamin D: Vitamin D has important functions beyond just bone health – it also modulates both main stages of the immune responses. Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in autoimmune disease, too. This is because cells of the immune system are capable of synthesising and responding to the positive effects of vitamin D.
– Foods fortified with Vitamin D (like orange juice, milk, cereals)
– Fatty fish
– Sunlight (you can’t eat it, but you can lay in the sun and allow your whole body to feast).
Foods with Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant and essential macronutrient that contributes to regulating the immune system’s response. Vitamin C appears to be able to both prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections by enhancing various immune cell functions.
– Green and yellow bell peppers
– Brassica foods (broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage)
– Lime, lemon, grapefruit, pineapple
– Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
– Papaya, cantaloupe
– Spirulina, kelp
Other foods to include:
– turmeric, ginger
– Green tea
– Mushrooms (reishi, shiitake, chaga, cordyceps, Lion’s mane)
Scientists and food specialists recommend eating the foods that contain these, and to explore with recipes and ideas to achieve a diet that promotes health, wellbeing and, of course, a lot of immune defence! To find some amazing recipes and ideas on what to cook, check out the B-WELL website on www.bwellfoods.co.za or find B-WELL on Facebook @B-WELLfoods or Instagram: B-WELL.