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14 Nov, 2022

How To Build A Healthier Immune System

Did you know that 70% of your immune system is located in the gut? This means that we can improve our immune function through improving our gut health, and we can do that by improving our diet! We know that creating an environment that good bacteria can flourish in and bad bacteria can be controlled is vital for our overall health - And it all starts with diversity.


75% of the world’s food is generated from only twelve plant and five animal species, which means that both our taste buds and our gut microbiome are missing out on so many foods. The restricted diet is thought to starve off microbes that require a diverse nutrient supply. This may well explain why, our GM diversity as a population really has taken quite the hit when compared to our predecessors. The more diversity in your plant-based diet, the more diverse the nutrient supply for your gut microbiome. All in all, this equates to a well-fed and diverse range of happy gut microbes, which is key to maintaining a strong immune system.

Here's how to incorporate more plants into your day.

Oats, fruit, nuts, seeds and plant based are a good place to start but how about alternating between savoury and sweet days to include even more diversity before you've even left the house. Try mixing it up with some of these ideas: chickpea pancakes with avocado and fresh herbs, rye bread with tomatoes and hummus, seeded toast topped with almond butter. A smoothie is another great way to improve your plant intake.

Lunch is a time to pile your plate with energising food that will sustain you until dinner. One great way to up your diversity is to combine two meals, go for a salad and a dal or a vegetable soup and a sandwich filled with veggies. Plus the more sides you add the better. Carrots with hummus as a little starter and some cut fruit with yogurt as a pudding - it's the perfect excuse for a three course lunch every day!

At dinner time, especially during the week, we're often looking for something fast and easy. Enter one-pot-cooking or tray-bakes - the easiest way to get variety into your diet without having to do much in the kitchen. Load a lined baking tray with onions, garlic, new potatoes, three other vegetables (I like the combo of cherry tomatoes, squash and celeriac), then add in a beans or chickpeas and some herbs and spices. Drizzle with olive oil or serve with a homemade dressing (another great way to get plant varieties into your diet, think basil and spinach pesto made with nuts and seeds).

Snacking is another perfect opportunity to up your plant variety, whether it's a handful of nuts, some roasted chickpeas, butterbeans tossed in pesto, crudités with a bean based dip or simply some leftover roasted veggies from last night's dinner. Trying to be more adventurous with your snacking and moving away from convenience based snacks will undoubtedly be more nutritionally beneficial.

Shopping right is really the key to you eating right, because - without stating the obvious - if you don't buy it, you most likely won't eat it! We are all different and likely to shop differently but actually, shopping at a variety of places will help with eating different varieties of food. Going to your supermarket for your essentials and then heading to your local veg shop for your fruit and veg, then maybe searching for some interesting new items at a local international store or organic store for a few premium items will help fill your cupboards, fridge and tummy with variety!

Here are five more tips for boosting your immune system:

  1. Eating plenty of zinc-rich foods can help to increase disease-fighting antibodies and strengthen your immune system. Foods high in zinc include sesame seeds, chickpeas, cashews and shellfish.
  2. Get your fill of vitamin C through fresh fruit and vegetables rather than a bright orange supplement packed full of artificial sweeteners. The best source of vitamin C are broccoli, yellow bell peppers, leafy greens, citrus fruits, brussel sprouts and cauliflower.
  3. Ginger, ginger, ginger. Chop up a thumb sized piece of ginger and pair with the juice of half a lemon and hot water to start your day. Not only is ginger a natural pain and fever reducer, it also increases circulation helping to remove toxins and viruses from the body.
  4. Turmeric has been having a moment in recent years and there’s good reason for it. An anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and powerful antioxidant, this delicious spice is loaded with dietary fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C, E and K. Enjoy in tea, curries or soups and you will soon reap the benefits.
  5. It's in the preparation. Veggies such as broccoli and spinach are supercharged with vitamins and minerals - but their nutrient content can become depleted if over-cooked. Each ingredient is different, for example spinach enjoys been cooked ever so slightly to help with vitamin A absorption.

Struggle to find the time for food prep to ensure you get all the nutrients you need? Soups are the perfect way to increase your veg intake. Our Soup Cleanse is perfectly curated to include all the variety and nutrients you need for you to not only stop you from getting ill, but allow you to thrive. All our dishes have over 5 plant varieties in them and most of them have 7+. Check it out here.