As the leaves finally start falling from the trees and the days get shorter and cooler we start wearing more layers of clothing, going to sleep a little earlier and begin to transition away from raw, cooling foods to more cooked, warming foods. We start baking and roasting, making casseroles, soups, stews, congees….. In our gardens we are growing Asian greens, beans, broccoli, cabbage, capsicums, fennel, leeks, okra, onions, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, silver beet, spinach, turnips and sweetcorn. Our fruit selection consist of apples, avocados, bananas, grapes, guava, kiwifruit, limes, mandarins, pears, passionfruit, pomegranates, and quinces. When we live in harmony with the season we are also then ensuring harmony within ourselves.
Your immune system
This time of year sees the increase in frequency of immune challenges like colds, flu, allergies, asthma, bronchitis and other lung issues. So what can we do to support our immune system and stay as healthy as possible during the upcoming months?
Seriously packed with healthy doses of good bacteria to line our gut and protect the body against harmful bacteria and infections. Probiotics found in yoghurt contain live/active cultures such as lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium and studies have shown that they can lead to an increase in the body’s white blood cell count. Kefir is a fermented milk with specific kefir grains. The bacteria in kefir is capable of colonising the intestinal tract and can help fight off pathogenic yeasts in the body.
Turmeric, garlic, ginger
Turmeric, garlic and ginger have specific compounds that are anti-inflammatory and contain immune boosting properties which are all important during this time of year.
Pumpkin is a vegetable packed with beta carotene, a nutrient that the body can break down to form vitamin A. Vitamin A helps the proteins that regulate cell to cell communication which is the foundation of the immune system. It assists with respiratory health which is particularly helpful when you have a cold or flu. Other foods that you will find beta carotene in that are also in season are carrots, squash and sweet potatoes.
Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous family of vegetables which also include cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and turnips which are also in season during autumn. They are a great source of vitamins A, C and E and contain a compound which stimulates the body’s immune system.
Sunflower and pumpkin seeds contain good levels of zinc one of the most important nutrients for your immune system. Zinc can also be found in beef, lamb, egg yolks, capsicum, seafood and whole grains.
What else can you do?
Some other important things to ensure a strong immune system:
- Eat a balanced diet -high in fibre and whole grains, good fats such as those found in nuts and seeds, avocados, oily fish, olive oil, coconut oil and nut oils, and with moderate amounts of protein. Eat fresh, wholesome, unprocessed foods. Eating lots of junk foods can slow your army down – especially sweet, sugary foods.
- De-stress! Enjoy plenty of rest and relaxation. Stress can actually reduce your resistance to infection.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise reduces inflammation and can support a healthy immune system.
- Get outside regularly for your dose of vitamin D while the sun lasts. Not only is it important for bone health and reducing inflammation it is also vital for supporting your immune system.
- Increase water intake to six to eight glasses per day. Water is essential for all aspects of good health.
Your naturopath can help you further with your diet, nutrients and herbs that can further boost your immune function and support you during this time of year.