Our innate immune system is the immune system we were born with & is the first line of defence at warding off unwanted invaders. It comprises of immune cells, (otherwise known as white blood cells) that mediate innate immunity. These cells include basophils, dendritic cells, eosinophils, Langerhans cells, mast cells, monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils & Natural Killer cells. In order for these cells to function optimally they need a number of nutrients, plus the right conditions to promote a strong immune system. There are many ways to improve our innate immunity. Eating a healthy diet is one of them, but there are also many lifestyle factors that can also enhance our innate immunity. Some of these are outlined below.
- Eat foods rich in zinc, such as nuts, seeds, seafood, fish, lamb, chicken, beans, lentils & soy products (Miso & tofu). For extra protection take a zinc supplement in the form of zinc citrate. A good dose would be 30mg.
- Reduce stress by including exercise, yoga or meditation in your daily regime. 10-15 minutes is enough to have an impact!
- Get good quality sleep. Invest in some black out blinds, get the electrical equipment out of your bedroom & turn off your mobile phones! This enables your body to make more melatonin & insures for a great night’s sleep! An added bonus is your body can detox & repair much more effectively, which again supports your immune system.
- Eat a rainbow to insure you get all the different antioxidants & a good supply of vitamins A, C & E. Make sure any fruit & vegetables are organic to gain the most nutrients from the food, plus to avoid any nasty chemicals that are used in the farming process!
- Eat foods rich in Vitamin D such as eggs, fish, dairy produce & red meat, plus make sure you get your daily dose of sunshine- when the sun is shining of course! 20 minutes of exposure is adequate enough. For even more insurance you can take a daily supplement of Vitamin D. A good dose would be 2000iu.
- Minimise alcohol- yes, I know you will not love me for saying this, however alcohol is known to deplete the body of vital nutrients such as zinc, iron & magnesium, which all have key roles in the immune system, so if you are planning to have a drink aim to keep it to a few instead of ten!
- Take a superfood supplement such as Chlorella. Chlorella is known for its immune modulating effects, more specifically it’s ability to increase secretory IgA in the gut, which in turn supports the innate immune system. It also works on any inflammation in the body, which again will have a positive impact on the immune system.
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