Thriving in challenging times

Thriving in challenging times: Supporting your Immune System with Food when you need it the most

By Coach Darren

This is an unprecedented time to say the least. A time for us to be open-hearted, focused, and level-headed on what we can do to best protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. A time for the utmost self-care, to strengthen our immunity, and to feed ourselves with proper nutrition.

We don’t just want to survive these challenging times — we want to thrive. Cooking real, whole, nutrient-rich foods at home is a crucial way to come out of the other end of this stronger.

Support Your Immune System: Make Food Your Medicine!

✔ Eat a whole foods, nutrient-rich diet. In order for your immune system to function properly and work in your favor, you need more real, unprocessed foods. What’s causing the most deaths in the developing world is not the infection itself, but the body’s inability to fight the infections because of nutrient deficiencies. Improving the quality of your diet is your strongest line of defense against any illness.

✔ Cut out sugar and refined starches. There is no better time to cut your junk food habits — as the sugar and refined carbohydrates can suppress your immune function. Limiting starch and sugar will help your immune system function better and your overall health improves. 

✔ Eat adequate/enough protein. Protein is critical for immune function and protein malnutrition is a big risk factor for death from infections. Try to eat about two four-ounce servings of organic, clean animal protein a day. Plant-based (legumes, nuts/seeds) proteins are adequate if consumed in enough quantity. Try tofu and tempeh from non-GMO soy for the highest protein concentrations. 

✔ Eat fermented probiotic foods to support your gut microbiome and immunity. Eat sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, miso, tempeh, unsweetened yogurt, kefir. Also include prebiotic foods such as asparagus, artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, plantains, dandelion greens, leeks, onions, garlic, bananas, apples, jicama, flax seeds, and seaweed.

✔ Eat multiple servings of colorful fruits and vegetables high in vitamins C, A, and phytonutrients that support the immune system. Choose more leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower), peppers, sweet potatoes, and squashes.

✔ Drink plenty of fluids, especially warmer fluids, like bone broth! Consuming adequate fluids supports all your bodies’ functions including the immune system. Make soups and broths (from scratch with fresh vegetables is always best) and have them throughout the week. Avoid concentrated fruit drinks because they’re high in refined sugar (immune suppressor).

The time is now to come together (but 6 feet apart) as human beings and take care of each other. If we remain calm and focus on taking care of ourselves and our neighbors, we have a great chance of coming out of this stronger while reducing sickness and death. Do not fear, but love thy neighbor. 

Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice and any changes should be done in consultation with your health care provider.

Darren is part of the Train To Play Coaching team and has put together an exclusive meal plan with easy to follow recipes for the Train to Play community, click below for your exclusive access.