Blog - Can my food intake boost my immunity to fight illness?

Can my food intake boost my immunity to fight illness?

  • 13 July 2020
  • Dr Natalie Mitchell at pirkx
  • 2 minutes read

Can my food intake boost my immunity to fight illness?

What you eat has a significant affect on your body’s ability to cope with infection. Eating the correct foods can reduce the likelihood that you will get an illness.


What to eat to reduce your chance of becoming ill


A healthy gut microbiota can give you an improved immune system. Food rich in polyphenols increase the variety and strength of your good gut bacteria to better fight unwanted bacteria. Food rich in polyphenols include colourful fruits and vegetables such as blackcurrants, plums, raspberries, strawberries, olives, carrots and capsicum. Other foods that keep your microbiota healthy include natural products high in fibre, such as spinach, broccoli, leeks, mushrooms, chia seeds, legumes; healthy fats such as nuts and avocado; and fermented food such as Kefir, Kombucha, miso and unpasteurised sauerkraut. Nuts and avocado also contain magnesuim and manganese to aid protein synthesis which boosts immunity.


Regularly eating oily fish which is high in vitamin D, reduces the rates of illness and infection linked to Vitamin D deficiency.


In addition, an adequate intake of micro nutrients is required for the effective functioning of the body’s defence mechanisms. Undernutrition is a real issue for people in many developed countries as it reduces their ability to fight off infections. The young and elderly are particularly susceptible to undernutrition however anybody can potentially be undernourished without it being physically apparent. A good diverse balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds ensure the optimal functioning of immune processes.


Once you are ill what should you eat?


Infection increases the energy requirements of the body due to an increase in the basal metabolic rate.  Therefore, if you are unwell, this is not the time to try to reduce your calorie intake.  The requirement of protein increases so the body is able to produce an array of defence tissues, cells and their products to protect the body against invading organisms.  The recommended daily intake of the protein building block, glutamine should be reached to help to prevent upper respiratory tract infections.   You can find protein in the following foods, meat, cottage cheese, edamame beans, green peas, hemp seeds, chia seeds, eggs, tofu and lentils.


Vitamin B6, Selenium, Copper, Zinc and glutamate are required for antibody, B cell production.  Meat, seafood, nuts,milk and eggs contain most of these nutritional requirements.


Fatty acids (fat) are a component of cell membranes. Poly-unsaturated fat positively affects the immune system directly. Diets rich in N-6 poly-unsaturated fats promote immune responses. These are found in nuts, vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, poultry, eggs, wholegrain breads, pumpkin seeds and hulled sesame seeds.


During an infection, oxidative stress is increased as the immune system goes into overdrive. A plentiful intake of a variety of the following anti-oxidants can relieve oxidative stress - fresh garlic, leeks, onions, berries and grapes. Also carrots, spinach, mangos, pumpkin seeds, seafood, lean meat, milk and nuts.


Everything in balance


Too much of anything in regards to the human body can have a negative effect. Be that any one food type or even too much exercise. Prolonged and intensive workouts activate stress hormones, which suppress the immune system. However there is a link between moderate regular exercise and a healthy immune system.


If you eat a variety of the foods mentioned above every week, you have the ability to build defences so you are less susceptible to illness.


Dr Natalie Michell read Molecular Biology at University College London. She carries a Masters Degree and has a PhD from the University of New South Wales where she studied the effects of neurotransmitters and how they affect hunger, energy expenditure and fat storage. Natalie has research experience in the fields of Cancer, Energy, Metabolism and Neuroscience. To hear more about nutrition from Natalie visit the pirkx member nutrition pages and follow her on Instagram

  • Dr Natalie Mitchell
  • Corporate Nutritionist

Winter Mood Relief Strategies

Does your anxiety rise as it gets colder? As the weather gets cold and days...

  • 30 May 2024
  • Hyacinta Mortel at pirkx

Empowering your Team: How pirkx Enhance your Employee’s Wellbeing

Employers pay for Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) to help staff members...

  • 23 April 2024
  • Armi at pirkx

Unlocking the Potential of EAPs in the Retail Industry

In life's journey, we all encounter challenges, both personal and...

  • 22 April 2024
  • Milene Okamura at pirkx

NURTURING A HAPPIER HEALTHIER HUMAN: The Role of Wellbeing in Education and Training Industry

In the world of Education and Training prioritizing the welfare of those who...

  • 3 April 2024
  • Hyacinta Mortel at pirkx

Encouraging The connection

Introduction The feeling of belonging and the cooperative spirit of...

  • 26 January 2024
  • Siobhan Whalley at pirkx

Continuing to Learn After School

Continuing to Learn After School:   Education is a lifelong process,...

  • 4 July 2023
  • Aggie at pirkx

How Virtual Gym Classes can Improve your Winter

Winter can be a challenging time for staying active and maintaining a healthy...

  • 2 June 2023
  • Aggie at pirkx

Why is it Important for Pensioners to Prioritise Wellbeing?

As we age, our bodies and minds undergo significant changes that can impact...

  • 10 May 2023
  • Aggie at pirkx

Saving Money as Oil Prices Rise

As the cost of oil rises in Australia due to production cuts by OPEC...

  • 25 April 2023
  • Aggie at pirkx

Fall asleep in 2 minutes with the Military Sleep Method


  • 27 May 2022
  • Ella Hamilton at pirkx

5 free or cheap ways to feel better now

Wow, this pandemic just keeps on giving, doesn't it?  For so many practical,...

  • 6 August 2021
  • Ella Hamilton at pirkx

Cleaning products are boring and expensive. Find out how to save heaps!

Just a heads up - the answer is defintely not to use regular detergent in...

  • 4 August 2021
  • Ella Hamilton at pirkx

Weight loss pills – helpful or harmful?

Many medications and supplements make this claim, but what are they, what’s...

  • 3 August 2021
  • Ella Hamilton at pirkx

How can you find the best deals online?

These days, almost any online purchase you make comes with that nagging FOMO...

  • 29 July 2021
  • Dylan Thomas-Barney at pirkx

Ready to save over $1,000 on tax this year?

You’ve probably heard some media buzz recently about the Low and Middle...

  • 29 July 2021
  • Justin Mastores at pirkx

Caring without Carrying

Ever walk away from a conversation where you feel the other person has dumped...

  • 2 October 2020
  • Fleur Heazlewood at pirkx

What is wellbeing?

A good definition from the New Economics Foundation, is that wellbeing can be...

  • 16 June 2020
  • Fleur Heazlewood at pirkx

Open up

Now you can keep pirkx wherever you go, so you never miss the best deal and you’re always comforted by the services you value.

Open up to a world of benefits and resources.

join Now