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There’s lots of talk these days about the importance of hand-washing but not enough pointers on how our diet can also help in the battle against infections.It’s really important that we try to keep our immune system in top shape these days. We should all be doing everything we can to protect ourselves and families from COVID-19. There’s no better way than to start by improving our diets and lifestyle habits.


1) Watch your sugar intake
Avoid processed sugar and white flour as they can suppress the immune system. Replace them with naturally sweetened snacks in small quantities instead.

Check out our Yola Energy Bombs & Bombs for a healthier sweet alternatives

2) De-stress & sleep well
Remember that stress, lack of sleep, smoking, and drinking too much alcohol are all things that suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.

Avoiding stress is easier said than done especially these days, but try to engage in activities that work for you whether it is exercising from home, meditating, watching a movie, reading a book or spending time with your family. Try to disconnect from all the madness.

3) Check your vitamin D levels
Studies have shown that individuals with higher vitamin D levels are less at risk of contracting a viral infection. Natural sources include sunshine, fish oils and mushrooms.

Check our oily fish Read-to-Heat meal options

4) Probiotics
Over 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. The gastrointestinal tract relies on friendly bacteria to help support a robust immune response. Try to include fermented foods like live yoghurt, kefir and sauerkraut in your diet.

Check out our Granola Pots & Cups to boost your yoghurt intake

5) Garlic
Garlic is a traditional remedy for colds and infections. When raw garlic is chopped or chewed, it releases an active compound called allicin, which has demonstrated antiviral activity.

6) Boost your Zinc levels

Zinc deficiency can lead to reduced immune function, which can increase risk of infections. Foods rich in zinc include pumpkin and sesame seeds, oats, yogurts and prawns.

Check out our Yola Oat Bars & Semsemaya Bar to boost your Zinc levels

7) Load up on Antioxidants

Center your diet on a wide variety of fruit, vegetables and dark leafy greens. Studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C & E helps to stimulate the immune function.

Grapefruit, oranges, bell peppers, strawberries, kiwi, broccoli are great natural sources of Vitamin C, while avocados, nuts and seeds are great sources of Vitamin E.

Check out our range of colorful salads, smoothies, juices and soups to help boost your antioxidants in your diet.

8) Boost your Protein intake
Sufficient protein is important for a healthy functioning immune system. Make sure to include high quality plant or animal protein with every meal.

Check out our balanced Ready-to-Heat Meals for high quality protein options or choose any of your favorite salads with the additional protein toppings of your choice.

9) Beta Glucans
Beta glucans enhance macrophages and trigger a group of immune cells such as natural killer cells. This helps to boost the immune system by optimizing its response to diseases and infections. A great source of beta glucans is oats.

Check out our range of YOLA Granola or YOLA Oatmeal Pancake Mixes for ways to boost your Beta Glucans

10) Manuka Honey
Cytokines are chemical messengers secreted by your immune cells to organize immune responses, such as the production of immune-boosting cells. Researchers isolated a compound in manuka honey that stimulates the production of cytokines. Add 1 tsp of Manuka honey to your meal plan daily either by adding it to some yoghurt or eating it directly to help boost your immune responses.

Finally, including high quality supplements daily can help compensate for missing nutrients and low quality food that helps to optimize the immune system response. For example, including multi-vitamins, Omega 3 fish oils, vitamin D supplements, vitamin C with zinc, probiotics and elderberry can all help boost the immunity.

Stay Safe & Healthy!

Nadine El Alaily, MSc, mBANT, CertNLP
Founder of BodyBlocks