Look After Your Nutrition with Jemma Kehoe
By Jemma Kehoe Dip NT, Dip Pharm Tech, mNTOI, Nutritional Therapist
Look After Your Nutrition: This is a very unusual time for us all. It is so important, now more than ever, to value and invest in your health. The following article aims to help advise you about how you can protect your immune system through diet and lifestyle support. The information I share below is just some of the many ways I plan to try and keep my family as healthy and resistant to infection as possible in the coming weeks and months.
1) Eat the rainbow: add as much colourful fruits and vegetables to your plate as you possibly can. Think leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage broccoli and cauliflower, berries such as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, peppers and sweet potato. Aim for a maximum of two servings of fruits per day and anywhere between five to seven servings of vegetables per day.
Does this sound like a lot? To put it into and context, one day’s eating could look like this: add three to four tablespoons of berries to your breakfast, a bowl of fresh soup at lunchtime, some fruit as an afternoon snack and three different vegetables on your dinner plate. Et voila, you have now consumed between five and seven different coloured fruits and veggies and your immune system will thank you for it!
2) Add lots of spices to your cooking. Fresh ginger, garlic, oregano and rosemary contain several antimicrobial properties. Dried spices such as black pepper and turmeric also have useful antimicrobial properties and should be added to your cooking as much as possible. One of my favourites ways to get extra fresh spices into my diet is by adding slices of fresh ginger to my herbal teas. So pop a teabag of lemon and ginger tea into a mug and add extra fresh ginger and maybe a slice of lemon or two for flavour and extra beneficial polyphenols.
Indian and Thai inspired curries using lots of fresh garlic, ginger, turmeric, curry powder and some coconut milk makes the most amazing comfort food for this time of year. Coconut milk (canned) has several antimicrobial properties so is a perfect immune-enhancing food too.
3) Focus on your fluids. Consuming an adequate amount of fluids helps to support the immune system. Hot drinks in particular such as broth and soups are very beneficial. Make home-made broth from chicken bones and use this as your stock in home-made soups.
Herbal teas such as lemon and ginger, turmeric tea, green tea, or any other herbal or fruit tea are also great options. Avoid commercially produced juices and sweetened or fizzy drinks as the sugar content is harmful to the immune system.
4) Supplement with vitamin D. Due to our lack of exposure to strong sunlight in the winter months, it is safe to assume that most of us are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D works in several different ways by helping to reinforce the physical immune barriers in the respiratory tract, and also stimulate the immune cell response to viruses.
If choosing a supplement, look for one in an oil base such as drops/spray or in a gelatin capsule and aim for between 1,000iu to 3,000iu’s daily for three-six months during winter/springtime.
Stay well everyone,
Jemma studied Nutritional Therapy at the Institute of Health Sciences where she graduated with distinction in 2010 and previous to this, qualified as a pharmacy technician with Trinity College Dublin. Not satisfied and wanting to learn more, she is currently a Masters of Science Degree student, studying Advanced Nutrition.
Since 2010, Jemma works exclusively in the area of nutrition and natural health at her clinic at 5 Catherine St, Waterford City. Jemma offers one to one consultations in person or by phone and employee wellbeing programmes.