Whether you’ve had one dose or two doses of your coronavirus vaccine, you’ll know that the jab often comes with a few flu-like side effects which can throw you off your game for a day or two. Rest, rehydration and recuperation is important here, of course, but you can actually use your mealtimes to keep your immune system ticking over while the vaccine gets to work in keeping you — and your loved one — safe. Below, Registered Third Space Nutritional Therapist Stephanie Goold (DipION MBANT CNHC) serves up five ways to make your food work for you after your vaccine.
Go With Your Gut
Feed your beneficial gut bacteria (70%+ of your immune system is in your gut), by eating onions, garlic, leeks, oats, cabbages, ground flaxseed and fermented foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi.
Vitamin D has many roles within the body and supports the activity of various immune cells. It has been shown to have antimicrobial as well as anti-inflammatory properties. The most effective way to boost vitamin D is by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, when sunshine reacts with our skin cells. However, when sunlight is scarce, opt for vitamin D rich foods such as oily fish – tuna, mackerel, salmon, anchovies, sardines and herring, fortified cereals and milks, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and dark green leafy vegetables.
Give It Some Skin
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid antioxidant that can protect lung tissue and has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Food sources include apples (particularly the skin), grapes, green tea, black tea, leafy green vegetables such as kale, peppers and red onion.
Be a Little Shellfish
Zinc is an essential micronutrient involved in regulation of both the innate (first-line, immediate), and adaptive (long-lasting, immunity following disease exposure) responses. Food sources include shellfish such as mussels, oysters and prawns, red meat, nuts and seeds.
Dark Chocolate, Anyone?
Magnesium is an often-deficient mineral, but is very important in supporting immune system cells such as Natural Killer Cells and Lymphocytes. It is a vital source of energy for our cells – adenosine triphosphate (ATP), without this energy our cells cannot function properly. Foods sources of magnesium are dark chocolate (70%+ cocoa solids), beans, lentils and pulses, avocados and whole grains.