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Can I boost my immune system?

Updated: Jan 10

No, only vaccines can do that. But we can help support it!

There are no foods or diets that prevent infections - anyone that states otherwise is just spewing nutrition pseudoscience! Only good hygiene and physical distancing can do that. But we are here to help you understand how you can help support your immune system and ensure your diet isn't stunting its normal function. The function of your immune system deteriorates when you undereat or eat too much of the wrong things, but also as you age. You can check out my previous video on the basics of the immune system as I also discuss the impact of ageing.

So when it comes to nutrition, the best you can do is to ensure you're including many different nutrients that support your immune system, and these include copper, folate, iron, selenium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins C, D, A, B6 and B12. How? Well the easiest way is to eat a healthy balanced diet. This means plenty of fruit, veg, protein (either from meat, fish, eggs, tofu, lentils, beans), complex carbs (wholegrains, aots, cereals, root veg), and unsaturated fats (from nuts, seeds, plant oils, avocado, fish..). This can't really be said for vitamin D as we ultimately need a sufficient amount of sunlight every day which is proving difficult for many of us not able to step outside of our homes - this is the only supplement I would recommend taking to help support your immune system If you have a normal blood level of vitamin D then it is recommended to take 10 micrograms per day, but if you are already deficient then your doctor needs to guide you on the right dose for you. This is especially important because we are learning that those with severely deficient levels have a worse response to this virus. But there's something else that is unique to this SARS-CoV-2 virus, and that is the added risk of blood clots – so there is one more thing we can do with our nutrition to help reduce this risk and its ensuring we eat enough omega-3 fatty acids. Stay tuned for my next video where I dive into this.

But, Until then, stay sane and sanitised! Written by Dr Elisabeth Thubron - Head of Science & Research

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