For many of us, we are incredibly fortunate to have freedom and choice when it comes to what we eat, and what we do with our bodies.
Its food and activity choices that help build one of our most powerful defences against aging and disease (including flu-like diseases) – our immune system.
The great news is there are many ways that we can boost our immune system, simply by implementing our knowledge around foods high in vitamins and minerals and backing it up with practical activities that are readily available, so we thought we’d share 21 ways you can do this.
Oh, and spoiler alert- making matcha green tea part of your wellness regimen may be one of the best ways to optimise your health…
Let’s take a look at immune-boosting foods…
If you love a bit of history, then Garlic has it in spades when it comes to health. It has been prescribed for medicinal purposes for centuries. When it’s crushed, it releases an active compound called allicin which is known for boosting immunity, in particular against colds and flu.
Ginger is a great choice for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You can freeze fresh ginger, and add it to juices, stir-fries, or even give your matcha green tea a little zing and extra immunity boost. Ginger is a great digestive aid, and also helps manage nausea, and fight the common cold and flu.
3. Citrus Fruits
Famous for their levels of vitamin c, lemons and oranges have long been a choice to help keep disease at bay, and if you are a history buff, you may associate the importance of vitamin C with combating scurvy. What you may not know is that vitamin C is important to collagen production, something that helps connective tissue in our bodies – and our skin.
Eating fresh kiwi fruit is a great way to shorten the length of cold and flu symptoms, and it’s a great choice for children and boosting their immunity function. Like citrus fruits, kiwi is high in vitamin C, and it also contains high levels of potassium, folate, and antioxidants to boost your immunity.
Turmeric can be a great addition to a smoothie made with matcha green tea. It’s packed with anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. The main compound in turmeric is curcumin (also found in capsicum and peppers), which is associated with stimulating antioxidant defences to boost our immunity.
6. Bell Peppers (Capsicum)
Bell peppers come in a variety of colours and make a great healthy snack if you have more of a savoury palette. The red variety may just be the pick of the bunch though, as they contain higher levels of vitamin c, and also contain a compound called beta-carotene and vitamin E – both which are great in boosting your immunity.
7. Matcha Green Tea
Made from ground green tea leaves, matcha green tea is packed with health benefits. With 137 x more antioxidants than regular green tea, it’s a great choice for boosting your immunity. Matcha even outperforms other antioxidant foods on the ORAC scale (used to rate antioxidant properties in foods), making it a great daily addition to your routine.
Whether you choose to consume it traditionally as a tea, or be a little creative and make raw food balls, smoothies, or even a face mask, matcha is definitely on your side in the fight against the disease.
While they may seem basic, lentils are extremely rich in polyphenols – health-promoting phytochemicals. Some foods lose their health benefits when they are cooked or processed, the polyphenols in lentils don’t lose their benefits after cooking – good to know when you are thinking about whipping up a curry or a soup on a cool night.
Containing probiotics, yogurt is great for gut health. It helps promote good bacteria, required for good immune system response. What’s more – it’s a great base for making a matcha green tea smoothie.
Similar to garlic, onion also contains allicin, and another compound to support our health called anthocyanin, which has anti-viral properties.
A great choice to boost your health, their antioxidant properties are known for fighting common colds, UTI’s and high blood pressure, and they are also high in vitamin c.
Broccoli is rich in a sulphur-containing substance that makes a phytochemical called sulforaphane; responsible for boosting immunity and releasing disease-fighting compounds called isothiocyanates when chopped and chewed.
Eating mushrooms is shown to boost your immunity levels (yes, even the humble white button mushroom).
Some of the more exotic varieties such as shitake have been shown to boost T-cell function (cells that fight off invaders).
Now we have some amazing foods to support us, here are some great activities to keep us grounded (like green tea leaves, matcha style)
Hydration (drinking at least 2 litres of water daily) helps our bodies to flush out toxins, is good for our skin, and helps protect us against viruses being stored in our bodies. You don’t need to keep your water plain – green tea or matcha tea can also count toward your hydration levels, or you can add some lemon and ginger to your water if you prefer a little flavour.
15. Eat Healthily
Making good food choices to support our energy levels. While fast foods might be convenient, they take longer for our bodies to process and fall short in the health benefits stakes. A little planning and creativity, and you can make some great healthy teas, smoothies, snacks, and meals from the foods above.
16. Sleep well
Our bodies actually do a lot of repair work while we are sleeping. This is when 75% of our human growth hormone (HGHO) is released to help repair and restore our bodies so they are ready to take on another day. Ignoring good sleep practices and reducing the quality of sleep is a fast track to compromising your immune system, as well as impacting your mental health.
Our bodies are designed to move, and not be sedentary. Mix up your exercise between cardio and strength training to keep your entire body healthy, as you need a strong cardiovascular system and a strong musculoskeletal system. What’s more – exercise releases happy endorphins to help with our mental stress.
A great choice for improving your flexibility, and also looking after your muscle strength and tone, yoga can be both relaxing and challenging depending on the type you choose to do.
A few sun salutations, downward dogs, and baby cobras followed by a green matcha tea can be a great way to clear your mind and set your intentions for the day ahead.
Our minds are incredibly powerful tools in terms of how we choose to see the world and our situation. Practicing meditation can be helpful in managing stress, and cultivating kindness to ourselves and others.
20. Stay social
Humans are designed for connection, and with technology and a little creativity, we can still stay social. Isolation is not great for our mental health and well-being, so be sure to keep investing in relationships. Try organising a virtual self-care session where you can share your favourite recipes and homemade face masks using apps like zoom or houseparty.
21. Keep Learning
A learning mindset is really beneficial to our mental well-being. Look for opportunities to invest in a creative hobby, or work on a “bucket list” project – like speaking french for your dream trip to Paris. It’s always helpful to have an accountability buddy with anything you are working to achieve, and what’s more – a lifelong approach to learning has health benefits, not just for our personal growth, but it is also associated with reducing the chances of getting Alzheimers.
Speaking of learning, if you would like to keep learning about the benefits of Matcha Green Tea, why not click here to find out more on its health benefits and antioxidant properties.