The Health Benefits of Elderberry with Pukka Herbs

Elderberries are perfect for wild collection; they grow in abundance and can be harvested every year without harming the plant. Pukka’s wild elderberries come from southern Hungary, where there is still a thriving industry of wild herb collection. The collectors, who are predominantly of Roma origin, have formed a small cooperative made up of about 30 people. Every year they harvest the fresh berries from a patchwork of different sized areas of organically certified land. The fresh berries are immediately taken to Pukka’s local partner for drying and export.

What are elderberries used for?

Bursting with brightly coloured pigments that act as natural antioxidants, elderberries are a natural source of vitamin C. Well-known for supporting our immune function, vitamin C plays an important role in allowing our immune system to communicate and co-ordinate a response.

Sipping on herbal tea is a fantastic way of incorporating elderberries into your day-to-day lives. Pukka Herbs’ Organic Elderberry and Echinacea tea is packed with antioxidants to reduce stress and fight infections. 

If you want the power of elderberries, whilst benefitting from other natural immune-supporting ingredients like thyme and manuka honey, Pukka Elderberry Syrup is a delicious remedy that can be taken by the spoonful. 

Our Nutritional Therapists are on hand to offer health advice – you can pop in store Monday to Saturday, call us on 01737 223499 or contact us for a FREE Winter Wellness Check-in here.

The article has been adapted from Pukka Herbs, you can read the original full feature here.

Puressential Purifying Air Spray

Indoor air pollutants and Covid-19

According to a South African government paper on air quality, indoor pollution levels in developing countries generally exceed the World Health Organisation’s guidelines and is damaging to health.

Indoor pollution can be more toxic than outdoors and treating the air in homes, offices and other interior spaces with essential oils may be effective in countering viruses, bacteria, mould, fungi and dust mites, according to research.

SA Pharmacist, Giulia Criscuolo, says eliminating indoor, airborne allergens by using essential oil sprays such as Puressentiel may counter respiratory allergies, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when so much time is spent inside.

 “Studies indicate that aroma molecules of essential oils may activate nasal passage receptors, triggering an immune response. Essential oils’ chemical structure resembles hormones, making them uniquely useful for respiratory symptoms,” she says.

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All-natural ingredients

Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray is a 100% plant-based natural biocide with a patented formula made from a unique blend of 41 EOBBD essential oils (Essential Oils Botanically and Biochemically Defined) essential oils and bioalcohol not denatured by phthalates. It is free of harsh chemicals, detergents, dye, preservatives and synthetic perfumes.

The patented formula of essential oils contains: Dill, Anise, sweet Basil, Bay St Thomas, Rosewood, Cajuput, cassia Cinnamon, Atlas Cedarwood, Lemon, Lemon Verbena, Cumin Seed, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Juniper, Geranium, Ginger, Clove, English Lavender, Lavandin grosso, Mace, Mandarin, Wild Marjoram, Melissa, Curled Leaf Mint, Peppermint, Myrrh, Niaouli, Orange, Oregano, Parsley, Petitgrain, Scotchpine, Rosemary, Savory, Sage, Wild Thyme, Tea tree, Thyme, Vervain, and Wintergreen.

Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray also uses innovative technology, the patented propellant gas-free mechanical pump system PES600 which is tamperproof for guaranteed safety, and allows powerful diffusion by micro dispersion.

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Proven efficacy

With over 15 studies for efficacy and tolerance, it is clinically proven to eliminate 99.86% of bacteria and viruses with immediate effect. It also reduces invisible pollutants, smoky atmospheres, assists people with seasonal, dust mite and mould allergies, and removes odours from bedding, animals, child and adult bedrooms, damp rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, offices, workshops, public places, cars, etc.

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Application

Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray is especially right for now during the pandemic due to its antiviral properties – for homes, offices, doctor practices, cars and businesses – wanting clean air and peace of mind.

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Available in 200ml, simply spray 1-2 times daily in one or two applications into the four corners of a room (12 m²), wait 30 minutes for it to act, then air the room. Each application requires 6 or 8 sprays or 3 to 5ml. Carry out a preliminary test for spraying onto carpets, bedding and fabrics.

Furthermore, eco certified Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray can be sprayed on fabrics (even face masks), carpets, bedding and surfaces without leaving traces. It is gentle on you, your family, propellant gas and aerosol free, and leaves a fresh invigorating, long lasting natural fragrance too.

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Coyne Health have collaborated with Puressentiel in France to introduce Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray to South Africa, the world’s leading natural air purifier. You can read the full details of the product here in the original feature.

Puressential Purifying Air Spray is available in store and is priced at £19.99

Vitamin D and Good Health

Vitamin D is well known for helping to maintain healthy bones but what’s becoming apparent is the many other ways it supports good health.

We can get a small amount of vitamin D from food sources such as oily fish, egg yolks, red meat and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals, however it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone.

We get most of our vitamin D from natural sunlight and indeed it’s often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. Our bodies can make vitamin D when the sunlight touches our skin and this is during the ‘summer’ months (between late March/early April to the end of September). However, in the ‘winter’ months (October to the end of March) sunlight is not strong enough to make Vitamin D. Evidence now shows that many of us in the UK may be low in this important nutrient so supplementation is often needed. Public Health England now recommend supplementation for most of the population through the autumn and winter months in particular.

Vitamin D is available as drops and sprays (straight into the mouth) so is very easy to take, but can also be taken in tablet form too.

Our team of registered Nutritional Therapists are always on hand to provide advice in store and online. Contact us, or pop in and see us to talk nutrition and how to support your health this winter.

Sources: BioCare, NutriAdvanced, Better You and Gov.uk

Benefits of Medicinal Mushrooms

Mushrooms may not seem the obvious choice for keeping your immunity strong, skin glowing and blood sugar balanced, but numerous clinical studies have proved medicinal mushrooms can have amazing superpowers when it comes to keeping our health in tiptop condition.  

Everything from boosting immunity to keeping your blood sugar balanced; you can be supercharged with these fabulous fungi. 

Dr. Vivienne Rolfe PhD, and Pukka’s Head of Herbal Research, explains why they should be a go-to natural remedy for staying in good health.   

1. Keep your immunity strong and support natural defences

Mushrooms are high in beta-glucans – natural substances that have been found to help ‘prime’ our immune system, making sure it’s ready for action to fight off bugs and germs (1). Certain types of mushrooms such as reishi, shiitake and maitake are especially rich in the most powerful beta-glucans. So, getting a daily dose of these mushrooms could be beneficial at times when we need extra support, such as during the cold and flu season. A recent study found that maitake mushrooms have a protective effect against the flu virus and reduce cold symptoms, so it’s worth adding a dose of maitake to your wellbeing rituals. 

2. Natural source of vitamin D

Studies have shown that vitamin D plays an important role in our immune systems. That’s why, combined with the fact we are spending a reduced amount of time outside, it’s a good idea to make sure we’re getting a sufficient amount of it. Mushrooms are a great vegan food source of vitamin D. Known as the chestnut tree mushroom, the Shiitake mushroom contains essential amino acids and vitamins B1, B2 and D2. As an edible mushroom, it has been cultivated since ancient times both for culinary and nutritious uses. Vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system and process of cell division

3. Boost energy and help you cope with stress

Certain medicinal mushrooms are traditionally used in many parts of Asia on a daily basis as a mood tonic or ‘adaptogen’. Adaptogens are natural substances that are said to help the body adapt to stress and protect against some of its negative effects, such as fatigue and poor sleep (3) meaning you have more energy too! Maitake and reishi are among the mushrooms said to have adaptogenic qualities.

4. Keep blood sugar balanced 

When blood sugar levels get out of control, this can affect everyday energy as well as increase the risk of other problems such as type 2 diabetes and weight gain. The maitake mushroom has been found in studies to help bring blood sugar down by improving sensitivity to insulin (4,5) – the hormone that triggers cells to take glucose out of the blood. It may also help protect the pancreas, which produces insulin.

5. Keep joints healthy 

Missing out on your morning run due to aching joints can set you back, but inflammation around the joints be a major concern for many people, especially those with arthritis or joint damage. Mushrooms are said to be anti-inflammatory, so could help to ease pain and discomfort (6). Reishi and shiitake mushrooms, in particular,      are helpful here. A randomised, placebo controlled double-blind study      (a robust clinical trial)      found that reishi mushrooms helped to ease pain in people with rheumatoid arthritis over a period of 24 weeks (7). So, mushrooms could help keep you moving and doing the activities you love. 

6. Look after your natural glow 

Lastly and certainly not least of all, studies have found that mushrooms such as shiitake (8) and reishi (9) are rich in youth-boosting antioxidants, such as polyphenols, like those found in fruits and vegetables. But mushrooms actually go one better than most vegetables – in fact, two better. Firstly, because their powerful beta-glucans      – which are also helpful for immunity – can have an antioxidant effect. And, scientific reviews have found that mushrooms are also a great source of the minerals copper and zinc (10), used by our body to make its own powerful antioxidants. All this means that they can have anti-aging      and protective activity for our skin, as well as our heart, brain and liver.

How do I get medicinal mushrooms into my diet?

You may have seen shiitake mushrooms in your local supermarket, but maitake and reishi are not as readily available in food form. For a convenient and effective way to get all the health benefits of these      powerful mushrooms, try a good-quality organic nutritional mushroom supplement combining all three. Pukka’s Mushroom Gold is a blend of organic full-spectrum reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms.

This article has been brought to you from Pukka. You can read the original feature by clicking here.

Vitamin D and Vitamin K from BetterYou

Maintaining healthy bones is not just about increasing your calcium intake. Did you know that alongside calcium you should also look into vitamins D and K2?

Vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 ensure that calcium is absorbed easily and reaches the bone mass, while preventing arterial calcification. Helping to keep your heart and bones healthy.

Separately, K2 regulates normal blood clotting, whilst D3 supports a healthy immune system and supports muscle function.

optimal bone health

D+K2 – Putting calcium in balance

For increased calcium into the bone

Vitamin D3 ensures that calcium is absorbed easily and K2 (MK-7) activates the protein, osteocalcin, which integrates calcium into bone. Without D3 and K2, calcium cannot do its job effectively.

For reduced calcium plaque in arteries

Vitamin K2 (MK-7) activates matrix GLA protein (MGP) to bind excess calcium and promote arterial flow and flexibility.

How do vitamins D3 and K2 work together?

The power of BetterYou Vitamin D + K2

This fantastic article has been created by BetterYou. You can read the original feature here.

What are Echinaforce® Echinacea drops?

Echinaforce® Echinacea drops are a traditional herbal remedy used for the symptomatic relief of colds, influenza type infections and similar upper respiratory tract conditions. Always read the leaflet. 

Echinaforce® Echinacea is made from fresh extracts of Echinacea purpurea herb (95%) and root (5%). 

Echinacea is a plant native to America but is now cultivated extensively in Europe. The plants which go into our product are cultivated organically in Switzerland at our own herb farms.

Up to 10 species of Echinacea have been identified, but only three (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia and E. pallida) are used medicinally. Echinacea purpurea is considered to be the one which has been most widely researched and this is the species we use.

Our Echinacea is produced using extracts of freshly harvested, organically grown Echinacea purpurea herb and root, picked fresh and used within 24 hours of harvest. The benefit of using freshly harvested herbs has been demonstrated in research – extracts produced from fresh plants contain almost 3 times more active substances compared with those obtained from equivalent amounts of dried herb*.

This is why, when you need a herbal remedy to help you fight the misery of colds and flu, not all Echinaceas are the same.

*Tobler M et al: Characteristics of whole fresh plant extracts. Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur GanzheitMedizin, 1994

You can view the original feature by A. Vogel here

Immune support for September and beyond

As the days are now definitely getting shorter and with the weather turning,  Autumn is around the corner and with that comes preparation for the return to school and for others this year also the return to your office; bearing all that in mind this is a key time to make preparations to support your immune system.

The main functions of the immune system are to protect us against infection, clear damaged tissue and constant surveillance of potential malignant cells that grow within the body- basically protect, fight and repair!

The skin, cornea and mucosa of the respiratory tract and gastrointestinal lining form a physical barrier that is the immune system‘s first line of defence. If these barriers are breached two types of immune response occur -innate immunity and adaptive immunity.  The innate immunity is the natural immunity we are born with and the adaptive immunity is that which develops over time in response to anitigens.

We all experience low immunity at various points in our lives and to varying degrees and whilst medication will help in certain circumstances, nutrition and lifestyle can play a key part in supporting our immune system so that we increase our chances of staying healthy and reduce the likelihood of infections.

When you support your immune system this impacts other areas too such as your digestion and your nervous system and vice verca. therefore nurturing the gut microbiome encourages the correct functioning of the immune system and the number one factor for a healthy diverse microbiome is the number of different plants you can eat in a week. The average is 5, aim for 30.

Nutrients to consider for supporting the immune system are:-

Vitamin C- contributes to the immune defence by supporting both functions in the innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and a higher susceptibility to infections.

Omega 3 -EPA/DHA- often from fish oil but now available in algae sources too- these modulate the immune system due to their anti-inflammatory action.

Vitamin D – the sunshine Vitamin, which means there is quite a high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in the UK and adequate levels of vitamin D are also key for the innate and adaptive immune system.

Zinc is also key to maintain balance of the immune system as is selenium and deficiencies can impair both innate and adaptive immunity.

So where do you find immune supporting nutrients in food?

Vitamin C – blackcurrants, peppers, kiwi, broccoli, kale, lemons, strawberries, oranges

Vitamin A – salmon, butter, eggs,  sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, kale, swiss chard.

Zinc- pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, cashew nuts, red meat, shellfish- prawns

Antioxidants: brightly coloured fruit and vegetables especially berries, also green tea, turmeric, ginger & dark green leafy vegetables.

Garlic

Fermented foods – contain probiotics- good bacteria: kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi.

Organic Chicken Broth/soup

Make a drink from fresh ginger root ,hot water, cinnamon stick, lemon, Manuka honey-leave to brew-sore throats / coughs/cold/flu. Can also add crushed garlic!

Manuka Honey

So whilst supporting your immune system, by eating nutrient rich foods, it is also important to avoid those things that can have a negative impacts on the immune system functioning, 

Anti nutrients; eating foods with low nutrient value, not only means you are not taking in adequate vitamins and minerals needed for the optimum functioning of the immune system but by eating food groups already mentioned above such as processed foods, sugar, high caffeine and/or alcohol intake, you can disrupt  your immune system, potentially causing inflammation leading to infection/disease.

Alcohol has been shown to be  immune suppressive and negatively impacts all aspects of the immune system including structural defence mechanisms in our gut and respiratory tract.

Stress plays a significant role and research indicates that stress can dysregulate the human immune system and increase the possibility of developing chronic long term illness or exacerbating existing ones.

Lack of sleep…Sleep is well known to play a key role in your immune function and we should be getting between 7-9 hours a night and anything less than this has been proven to detrimentally affect the immune system.

Inactivity… Not getting regular moderate exercise means the immune system may not work at it’s best. Studies support the view that 30-60 minutes of moderate to high intensity exercise, most days enhances immune system performance.

Good nutrition is crucial for optimal immunity but sometimes diet alone is not enough and tailored supplementation is needed to bring the immune system back to peak condition.

  • Echinacea –– anti-microbial, stops virus replicating, shortens severity and duration of colds/flu
  • Elderberry – a/viral , strengthens our response against flu and increases speed of recovery
  • Beta Glucans
  • Vitamin C – a/viral.
  • Vitamin D
  • Zinc
  • Probiotics

Now as you plan ahead to prepare for the new season, going back to school or back into your place of work,  prepare also your immune system by eating a nutrient rich diet, getting regular sleep, exercising, avoiding  damaging anti nutrients and considering supplements that can support. With viruses for example there are two approaches firstly  target the infection by using anti viral supplements and secondly build a resilient immune system optimising your bodies ability to deal effectively through diet, supplements and lifestyle. This is the crux of Nutritional therapy, which looks at the root cause of the symptoms people have, not just providing symptomatic relief but working from a preventative stance, aiming to support health to reduce the likelihood of infections.

5 Key Considerations For Post-Viral Recovery

With an ever increasing number of people coming to us looking for advice on how to recover from symptoms of COVID-19 for themselves and their family, we are sharing this article by the team at Nutri Advanced for those looking for post-viral recovery and support.

Do contact us for advice from our team of registered Nutritional Therapist. You can book your FREE Health Advice Check-In here, or come to see us in store. We do ask if you are displaying any symptoms of Coronavirus that you do not come to store – please call us on 01737 223499.

It’s been a turbulent few months to say the least. And alongside continued and unprecedented interest in supporting immune health, thoughts are also turning towards post viral recovery. Supporting the body’s ability to recover from infection is always an important consideration, and during these uncertain times it’s empowering to bring your awareness to what you can do. Principles of functional medicine remind us that every one of us is unique and has our own individual health story. Not everyone however will be working 1:1 with a practitioner to benefit from fully personalised recommendations. The good news is that when it comes to recovering from illness or infection there are some universal considerations that most people will benefit from. Our aim in this article is to share these with you. In a world where so much seems out of our control, let’s focus on the things that we can take control of.

1. Prioritise sleep

There’s a good reason why fatigue often accompanies illness and infection, and why it can persist for many weeks beyond what may seem like a reasonable time. Fatigue is your body’s way of making you rest so that it can divert energy and resources towards recovery and repair instead. It’s important to listen to your body; now is not the time to carry on as normal, instead you need to take it easy and nurture yourself. Keep your schedule quieter during the day and don’t rush back to full time work until you feel ready for it. Prioritising regular good quality sleep is absolutely vital too, and arguably the most important way you can support this recovery process. In a 2019 review article published in Nature Reviews Immunology, Michael Irwin writes, “the discovery of reciprocal connections between the central nervous system, sleep and the immune system has shown that sleep enhances immune defences and that afferent signals from immune cells promote sleep.”1 If you ever needed a strong reason to make a priority of getting regular good quality sleep, then this is it. Find out more on supporting healthy sleep here.

2. Avoid alcohol

Many people drink alcohol to relax and overcome feelings of stress, and whilst this may seem to bring an immediate calming and stress-relieving benefit, the overall impact of regularly drinking too much is commonly a negative one. News that alcohol sales have soared during the last few months makes it more important than ever to bring greater awareness to the negative effects of alcohol when it comes to immune health and recovery from illness. Regular consumption of alcohol may impact mood, energy levels, disrupt sleep and may even promote neuro-inflammation. Whilst the mechanism of alcohol-related neuro-inflammation is still not well characterised, the possibility of this is certainly something you want to avoid during and following illness. The general debate over whether a bit of alcohol is better than none at all continues to run, however, we’d suggest avoiding alcohol completely if you’re recovering from illness and infection, and until you feel optimally better, due to its sleep-disrupting, energy-depleting and potential neuro-inflammatory effects.

3. Balance stress

One of the biggest anti-nutrients known to man, chronic stress rapidly depletes key nutrients needed for recovery and repair. In addition, chronic stress may suppress the immune system and promote peripheral and neuro-inflammation;2 both of which may be unhelpful for recovery processes. Now is the time you need nutrients to be easily accessible to fuel recovery, and this is also the time you want immune function at its best and inflammation under control. Needless to say, it’s crucial to take action to reduce stress if this is a concern for you. Start by identifying and then reducing any significant ongoing stressors that you can. The next step is to build in more time for self-care. And finally, increase your intake of key nutrients such as magnesium, B vitamins, zinc and vitamin C and adaptogenic herbs such as Asian ginseng, Rhodiola rosea and Cordyceps mycelium to support a balanced stress response.

4. Increase diversity of plant foods in the diet to support gut microbiome

The gut microbiome has become a hot topic in recent years and research is gathering pace to demonstrate just how crucial this internal ecosystem is to overall health. We now know that the impact of diet on health is often mediated by the gut microbiome. So, whether a particular food will have a positive impact on health is often dependent on having a healthy, thriving and diverse gut microbiome. There is therefore little point in loading up on superfoods if your gut needs some attention first. A great way to improve the diversity of the gut microbiome is to increase the amount and types of colourful plant foods you consume in your diet. A wide variety of plant foods may nurture different types of beneficial bacteria and support a thriving, health-supportive ecosystem that in turn will help you get the most of your diet. Aim for 40+ different types of vegetables, fruits and herbs in your diet each week.

5. Balance inflammation through diet and key nutrients

Acute inflammation is an essential process needed in the initial stages of illness, yet if it persists and becomes chronic this may be problematic for optimal recovery. Chronic neuro-inflammation in particular has been linked to post viral fatigue and is an important target in post viral support.3 Including in the diet, anti-inflammatory nutrients such as EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) & DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) is a great starting point. These can be found in rich supply in nuts, seeds and their oils and oily fish (Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies, Salmon, Herring). Refined sugar and dairy products may promote inflammation and may be best reduced or avoided during this recovery time. Key botanical considerations include curcuminrutinquercetinrosemary and gingerVitamin D also has an important role to play in balancing inflammatory processes. It is widely considered that vitamin D supports balanced inflammation by regulating the production of inflammatory cytokines and immune cells4-8 and it is vital to ensure that levels are optimal.

Bringing together the foundations of wellness for optimal recovery
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to optimal recovery, and no quick-fix or magic pill. Nourishing and nurturing your body back to optimal health following illness involves bringing together many different aspects that together provide the foundations for wellness. The good news is that together these 5 different areas provide a great starting point to significantly influence your body’s ability to recover, rebuild and recuperate.

References:
1. Irwin MR, Sleep and inflammation: partners in sickness and in health. Nature Reviews Immunology 19, 702-715(2019)
2. Liu YZ, Wang YX et al. Inflammation: The common pathway of stress-related diseases. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017; 11: 316
3. Yamato M, Kataoka Y. Fatigue sensation following peripheral viral infection is triggered by neuro-inflammation: who will answer these questions? Neural Regen Res. 2015 Feb; 10(2): 203-204
4. Pfeffer PE, Mann EH, et al. Vitamin D influences asthmatic pathology through its action on diverse immunological pathways. Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2014; 11: S314–S321.
5. Chambers ES, Hawrylowicz CM. The impact of vitamin D on regulatory T cells. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2011;11: 29–36. 10.1007/s11882-010-0161-8
6. Siffledeen JS, Siminoski K, Steinhart H, Greenberg G, Fedorak RN. The frequency of vitamin D deficiency in adults with Crohn’s disease. Can J Gastroenterol 2003; 17:473–478.
7. Ulitsky A, Ananthakrishnan AN, Naik A, et al. Vitamin D deficiency in patients with inflammatory bowel disease: association with disease activity and quality of life. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr 2011; 35:308–316.
8. Sadeghian M, Saneei P, et al. Vitamin D status in relation to Crohn’s disease: meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutrition 2016; 32: 505–514.

This article is sourced from Nutri Advanced and has been written by Rachel Bartholomew BA (Hons), Dip ION, mBANT, CNHC, GHW on 31st July 2020.

Gut health and the immune system

We can never ever know enough about how tummy health impacts our overall health, and this article by the health experts at Terra Nova explains how your gut health and immune system work together towards a better-feeling you!

Did you know that over 70% of the body’s immune cells are found in the gastrointestinal tract?

Yes… read that again! The gut is home to as many as 40 trillion cells and hundreds of species of tiny living microbes that influence immunity, mood, anxiety, cognition and even pain.

The key functions of the gut microbiota are breaking down complex carbohydrates, producing vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, and defending against pathogens.

The gut microbiome can change dramatically due to stress or poor diet. Therefore, it is super important to promote the best environment to help your microbes thrive.

Here are 5 immune supportive food and lifestyle tips that you can start following today!

1. Fiber is your friend

Fiber is a nondigestible carbohydrate found in fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Fiber is like food for your microbes. The greater the variety of fiber you consume, the greater variety of microbes you have.

Fiber has many other health benefits as well, including helping to lower cholesterol, keeping blood sugar levels stable, and keeping your bowel movements regular.

Beta-glucans in particular, are one form of soluble dietary fiber that are naturally produced by bacteria, fungi and many plants. Mushrooms and oats are some common foods that contain these fibers. These fibers have been extensively researched for their immunomodulatory effects!

Women should aim for at least 25g of fiber and men should aim for at least 38g of fiber daily.

2. Probiotic Power

Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that live in your gut. Taking probiotic supplements or eating foods with live probiotic cultures promotes a diverse gut microbiome and can decrease inflammation. Probiotics can be naturally found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt, and in fermented foods such as kimchi.

3. Eat the Rainbow

The color of each fruit and vegetable is caused by different phytonutrients, natural chemicals that help to fight pathogens. Eating a variety of colors from fruits and vegetables ensures that you are getting a variety of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals!

Some nutrients that play a key role in the immune system are:

Vitamin C: found in citrus fruits, berries, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, tomatoes

Beta Carotene: found in tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli

Vitamin D: found in fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk or juice.

Zinc: found in beef, seafood, wheat germ, nuts and legumes

4. Make Sleep a Priority

Many studies have proven that sleep deprivation can cause major detrimental effects on your immune system. People who don’t get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick and need longer to recover after being exposed to a virus.
Try to aim for 6-8 hours of quality sleep per night. Make it a habit to go to bed just 30 minutes earlier the night before until you reach your goal!

5. Manage Stress

Stress! It’s something we all have every now and then, especially these days. Unfortunately, too much stress can cause suppression of the immune system.

Learning to manage your individual stress is an important tool for optimal immune health.

Exercise, meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, deep breathing and laughter are all proven tools to manage stress. These activities help to produce endorphins, which can improve our mood. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day to start putting you in a better mood!