Food truly is medicine; Gina Urlich Clinical Nutritionist & Founder of NORISH
shares her top 10 supporting foods for strong immune health and overall
Your immune systems ability to protect you (especially into winter) depends on your nutritional health.
1. Warming herbs & spices (turmeric and ginger)
Turmeric and ginger are two potent spices that have been used for centuries in
traditional medicine due to their numerous health benefits. When it comes to
supporting immune function, both turmeric and ginger play a significant role.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is known for its anti-
These properties contribute to its ability to support immune function. Chronic inflammation can impair immune function. Curcumin found in turmeric helps to reduce inflammation in the body allowing the immune system to function optimally.
To incorporate turmeric into your diet, you can use it as a spice in various dishes, add it to smoothies or teas, or consider taking turmeric supplements that contain standardized curcumin extracts. Turmeric is best absorbed when combined with a source of fat (eg: coconut oil, coconut cream or olive oil).
Ginger is another powerful spice with immune-supportive properties. It contains
gingerol, a bioactive compound with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and
antioxidant effects. Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system.
Gingers anti-inflammatory properties help reduce inflammation, allowing the
immune system to function properly and respond effectively to pathogens. To
incorporate ginger into your routine, you can add it to teas, smoothies, stir-fries,
or use it as a spice in cooking.
Did you know that garlic has much more potent healing effects when it is
crushed and left for a little while. The active ingredient allicin is only created
after the garlic is crushed. Once garlic is crushed and allowed to rest, the
enzymes in it create the wonderful compound allicin which is a potent immune
modulating, antimicrobial, antioxidant and circulatory tonic.
Pop a few crush garlic cloves into your evening meals or onto some sourdough
with butter for a delicious garlic bread. Yum!
Wild salmon & sardines – boasting omega-3s, along with lots of high quality animal protein & large amounts of magnesium, calcium, selenium, and B vitamins. Oysters are the most nutrient dense source of zinc, fundamental to immune
4. Brazil Nuts
These powerhouse nuts are energy dense, highly nutritious and one of the most
concentrated dietary sources of the mineral selenium. Selenium is an important
antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage. Immune support studies have
demonstrated increased blood levels of selenium are associated with an
enhanced immune response. New Zealand & Australian soils are low in selenium; subsequently foods grown here are also low in it. If it's not in the soil it's not in our food. You can get organic brazil nuts here.
We have included a small amount of brazil nuts in the Norish Smoothie Booster
to deliver this important mineral.
Add 2 teaspoons of our Smoothie Booster to your favourite smoothie recipe or
mix into yoghurt for a powerhouse of nutrients!
5. Fermented foods
Gut flora is essential for a healthy immune function. With 70-90% of the immune
system found in the gut, focusing on building and diversifying the microbiome is
imperative for immune support. When we consume naturally fermented foods
we help increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut that helps train the local
immune system to attack pathogens. A microbiome out of balance, (i.e. does not
contain high levels of beneficial bacteria), is less likely to help you resist
infection, including colds and flu. While additional probiotic supplementation
may be beneficial for some, naturally fermented foods contain a wider variety of
bacterial strains than probiotics. Include a serving of fermented foods with your
meals to support gut health and bolster your immune system.
Great sources of fermented foods:
Sauerkraut; Kimchi; Kombucha; Kefir; Plain Yoghurt; Tempeh
6. Eat the rainbow
Colourful fruits and vegetables can paint a beautiful picture
of health because they contain phytonutrients, compounds that give plants their
rich colour as well as their distinctive tastes and aromas. Each colour represents
a different phytochemical and set of nutrients that may benefit your health. We
recommend eating at least 6 different colours a day. Try for 2 different coloured
fruits & vegetables with each meal.
Natures multivitamin One whole egg contains an amazing range of nutrients.
Eggs contain a perfect profile of amino acids making them a complete protein.
The yolk is a concentrated source of B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K,
Choline is particularly important for supporting early brain development. The
latest research suggests that over 70% of children and over 50% of adults are
currently not meeting the recommended intake for choline.
There are so many ways to incorporate eggs into your diet - scrambled, poached,
fried, pancakes or french toast.
8. Bone Broth
Bone broth is an excellent source of gelatin which contains collagen. The specific
amino acids present in collagen perform a wide variety of functions and not only
support gut health, reduce inflammation, but also support immunity.
Enjoy a warm cup of the Norish Beef Bone Broth as a nourishing and comforting
beverage during winter or simply add to your family meals such as pasta sauce,
bolognese, soups, stews or healthy noodles.
Liver is one of natures most nutrient-dense foods and one of the best superfoods
available (in my opinion). Liver is a source of choline, iron, zinc, folate, vitamins
A, B12 and K2 and aids in supporting immune health. Glutamine (which liver (as
a food source) is high in) serves as a critical fuel source for immune cells,
including white blood cells and certain intestinal cells. Freeze-dried beef liver is
found in our Norish product range and provides easy additions to meals whether
for yourself or your little ones.
In short, when it comes to strengthening your immune system, a diet rich in
whole (real) foods can provide a powerful defense against colds and flu. Simply
incorporating the above can supply your body with essential nutrients, boost gut
health, and enhance your overall well-being. And whilst food sources of nutrients
are recommended (and much more bioavailable), supplementation may be
required if not adequately meeting these nutrient needs through diet alone.
Kelp shines in with its high content of iodine, a mineral your body uses to
make thyroid hormones. It is also essential to children’s brain & cognitive
There are so many more superfoods like; camu camu, berries, figs, avocado,
garlic, cacao, spirulina, olive oil, brassica veg…I could go on but the moral of the
story is a variety of wholefoods. Mother Nature really gets it right & naturally
combines nutrients to support absorption.
Find some of these amazing Super Foods in the NORISH range in store now.