General health, and therefore immunity, is supported by eating a Mediterranean style diet. Why is a Mediterranean diet good for immunity? Well it contains 6-8 portions of vegetables and fruit per day across a rainbow of colours, all of which boost your levels of anti-oxidants. In addition this diet would include:
• easy to digest protein such as fish, poultry, legumes and beans
• slow releasing carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans and pulses
• healthy oils (from oily fish and olive oil)
• a range of herbs and spices
Many of these foods are also supportive of your digestive system and your gut bacteria as well as reducing inflammation in the body. The standard American style diet, which is high in saturated fat, processed carbohydrates and sugar, tends to be pro-inflammatory and much lower in essential vitamins and minerals.
It is important to note that a Mediterranean style diet does not mean that you eat a lot of pasta which we know is in short supply at the moment. It is more about eating lots of vegetables, unprocessed foods and more fish and vegetable protein and less meat. Many of the ingredients listed above can be bought in tins, dried or frozen so you may have to get inventive in terms of the way that you shop and alternatives that you select if your first choice is not available.
Specifically a Mediterranean diet provides the nutrients needed to support all levels of immunity, including vitamins A, B,C and the minerals zinc, and selenium. Also it is important to increase your daily intake of foods which have high antioxidant content such as berries, dark leafy green vegetables (e.g. kale, broccoli, spinach) and citrus fruits, to provide further protection for your immune system as well as your respiratory tract.