We spoke with Karin Reiter a veteran functional medicine and culinary nutritionist, about immunity, why it matters and what you can do about for you and your children.
GTCL: What is immunity, and how does it affect us?
Karin: Our immune system is an interactive network of cells, organs and proteins that counteract sources of stress in the body. Stress can come from pathogens, viruses, bacteria, fungus and so forth. Your immune system protects your body from illness.
GTCL: What could be short and long term impacts of poor immunity?
Signs and symptoms of a weak immune system would be:
Getting sick very often, pick up every bug that goes around
Chronic: sinusitis, mucous production, hay fever
Recurrent colds and illnesses (e.g: Mycoplasma)
Asthma or chronic inflammation of the airways
Eczema, rash, psoriasis- skin inflammation
Allergies to foods, dust, chemicals...
Autoimmune disease: Diabetes type 1,Celiac, Crohns, Lupus, MS, RA, Hashimoto’s, Graves, PCOS....
Inflammation, pain, swelling anywhere in the body
Mood disorders: depression, anxiety...
Fatigue, brain fog and chronic fatigue syndrome
GTCL: What are the 3 things anyone can do to start building a strong immunity?
Eat a whole foods diet rich in vegetables (all colours of the rainbow- aim to eat 12-15 vegetables a day).
Introduce fermented foods rich in probiotics into your diet. Kimchi, Kombucha, Kefirs, fermented vegetables.
Eat bee products: raw medicinal grade honey, bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly.
GTCL: What are some ways in which I can improve the immunity of my young children?
Get them to sleep- this is crucial for proper immune function- 10 hours a night and more.
Spend time in nature- the fresh air and the sunlight
Eat foods that come from nature and not from packages/factories. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket (where the fresh food is). Aim for 12-15 vegetables a day
Reduce sugar to a minimum- sugar feed inflammation
Stop using anti bacterial washes and gels these really do not help the immune system, just wash hands with soap before food. Ask about your chicken/dairy and eggs- do they contain added antibiotics?
Incorporate bone broths into the diet
Supplements with vitamin C and bee products.
About our expert
Karin, functional medicine nutritionist, fitness trainer, author, wife, mama and founder of Nutritious N’ Delicious, has been a leader in the nutrition and wellness industry for the last 13 years. She founded Nutritious N’ Delicious in 2011 in Australia (after a corporate career in law and finance) with the aim to touch as many people as possible and provide knowledge, support, guidance and advise on building a healthier life style.
She is a passionate speaker & journalist in the area of nutrition for numerous publications and led workshops and nutrition programs in the USA, Australia, Israel and through-out Asia. Karin is also author of 2 children's recipe books branded “The Rosy Cheeked Kids”. You will find Karin travelling with her family all over the world, in the kitchen developing and creating healthy recipes or drinking a green juice after a yoga practice.