Boost Your Immune System During Covid-19

While we are spending a lot of time at home to stay safe, it is the perfect time to boost your immune system during Covid-19 isolation. 

Take the opportunity to nourish and support ourselves and our families with nutritional food and immune boosting recipes.

Boost Your Immune System During Covid-19

There is plenty you can do to boost your immune system with simple and natural solutions you can practice at home. 

Manage your stress levels

Many of us are feeling anxious and worried about Covid-19 and its effects. We’re exposed to a lot of media daily about the toll the virus is taking on our global community as well as our personal lives. 

However, too much stress increases the hormone cortisol, which in turn acts to suppress the immune system. So reducing stress is an important step to keeping yourself healthy and well. 

Consider limiting your exposure to social media and news media to lower your anxiety.

Daily mindfulness, yoga or medication are wonderful ways to reduce your stress levels and have a positive impact on your immune system.

Practising good hygiene habits

One of the best ways to prevent being infected is to practice good hygiene. This stops infection from being transmitted and spread to others as well.

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes or face, dispose of used tissues in a closed bin, and ensure you sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow or a tissue (not your hands!)

Rest and sleep

A healthy immune function is very dependent on sleep. Lack of sleep can suppress your immune system and people who are stressed or worried are more likely to be sleep deprived.

Give your body a chance to gather strength and make sure you get a good night’s sleep. If you feel rundown or if you become unwell, rest is vitally important to allow your immune system the energy to fight off infection.

Eat warm, nourishing foods

We’re now heading into the colder months which is a perfect time to focus on eating warm and nourishing foods. A balanced diet rich in protein, good fats, fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients can boost your immune system during Covid-19 times. 

This is as simple as eating two serves of fruit, six to eight serves of vegetables daily and including a variety of whole grains, healthy fats and protein at each meal. Following these basic guidelines ensures you receive a range of essential vitamins and minerals to support your immune system

Homemade chicken and vegetable soup can help break down mucus that often comes with colds and flus. If you don’t have an appetite, the broth alone will provide minerals and vitamins to give you strength.

Eat your vitamins and minerals

Eat the rainbow to get all those fabulous, immune boosting phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Yellow and orange fruit and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash and beetroot are rich in beta-carotene which our bodies convert to vitamin A. We need vitamin A to keep the mucosal linings in our nose and lungs robust enough to defend against infection. Other foods to include are orange and red fruits such as oranges, mango, apricots and melon.

Zinc not only supports our immune system and exerts an antiviral action, it also helps maintain the integrity of the skin and mucous membranes. Which means zinc may reduce airway inflammation, along with vitamin A. 

We know vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. Keeping your levels primed is one of the most important measures you can take to boost your immune system during Covid-19. Vitamin D is essential for a healthy functioning immune system.

It’s believed that vitamin D helps stimulate the production of peptide – substances in the body that are able to fight off bacteria, fungi and viruses. We make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. But this time of year it might not be possible to get enough sun exposure. 

Dietary sources of vitamin D include eggs, butter and fatty fish but it is challenging to obtain recommended levels from food alone, so supplements are generally needed. 

Move your body

To be immunologically fit, you need to be physically fit, so keep moving!  Regular exercise is a great way to support the immune system, and this may be due to various different mechanisms.

As exercise can help support good circulation, this allows our immune cells to travel through the body more effectively. These immune cells seem to be stimulated by even mild exercise.

Another of the many happy side-effects of exercise is that it reduces stress, something that also keeps your immune system healthy and strong. Aim for a minimum of twenty minutes of exercise daily.

And exercising outdoors boosts the levels of good bacteria in your gut by up to 40%! Another excellent reason to get out into the fresh air and move around.

Reduce inflammation

It’s easy to reach for the unhealthy snacks that make us feel good momentarily, but we need to focus on what is better for ourselves in the long-term, making choices to provide us with protection, strength and energy.

The food we eat influences our immune responses to infection. So focusing on our nutrition is one of the best things we can do to boost our immune system during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Sugar, processed meat, vegetable oils, alcohol and white, refined carbohydrates tend to be inflammatory and can suppress the immune function. 

Foods such as garlic, ginger, onion and chilli to help fight off illness, warm you up and reduce inflammation. So include plenty of these in your daily diet. 

Stay hydrated

Remember fluids are very important to keep your immune system at its best. Water, bone broth or herbal teas are nourishing and help you to keep your fluid levels optimal. 

A handy Ayurvedic tip from a special yogi friend of mine, Lisa Moor, and one that is practiced extensively in Japan called Ugai, is gargling. Gargling can assist keeping mucus membranes lubricated, or if you have a sore or dry throat. 

Mix the following ingredients, then gargle the liquid for 30 seconds and spit out.

  • 1/4 tsp of good salt
  • 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
  • Some warm water

Support your gut health

Up to 80% of our gut houses the cells that make up our immune system so it makes very good sense to support your gut health by boosting health bacteria.

  • Include fermented foods in your diet
  • Cut sugar
  • Eat a variety of plant-based foods, aim for 40 different types weekly!
  • Bone broth is rich in collagen and glutamine and naturally supports good gut health. 

Clean your phone

If you are anything like me you will be touching you phone very regularly making it a bastion of germs and potentially the coronavirus.

So just as you would think of washing your hands regularly, you need to wipe down your phone with alcohol wipes.

Love Lindy xx


Chicken Broth from The Healthy Chef


  • 1.2 kg organic or free range chicken carcass
  • 6 litres filtered water
  • ½ teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced ginger
  • 1 onion, cut in half and gently charred in a hot dry pan
  • 300 g carrot
  • 100 g celery
  • 2 organic chicken breast fillets
  • ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

To serve:

  • 600 g Savoy Cabbage, cut into 150 g wedges (see notes)
  • handful spring onion, sliced
  • handful coriander leaves to garnish


  1. Place chicken carcass into a stock pot with 6 litres of filtered water.
  2. Add sea salt, onion, carrot, ginger and celery.
  3. Simmer partially covered over a low heat for 5 hours, skimming the broth regularly to remove any surface fat and scum.
  4. Strain the stock through a fine muslin.
  5. Refrigerate overnight and remove all the excess fat that solidifies over the top.

To serve…

  1. Heat the stock and add the Chicken breast.
  2. Gently poach the chicken for 12 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Remove and slice thinly.
  4. Trim the Savoy cabbage then cut into 4 large wedges.
  5. Pour 1 cup of the chicken stock into a large pan and bring to the boil.
  6. Add the cabbage wedges and cover with a tight fitting lid.
  7. Cook for 5 minutes until tender but still crisp.
  8. Transfer cabbage into serving bowls and add the sliced chicken breast.
  9. Pour over the bone broth and garnish with spring onion and coriander.



Add a little extra freshly grated or finely sliced ginger to garnish.

I love serving it in large bowls as a main course meal and add seasonal vegetables of the moment. I’ve used delicious Savoy Cabbage for this recipe, but it goes delightfully well with other garden vegetables such as baby carrot, wilted cavolo nero, snow pea or zucchini noodles

Author: Lindy Cook, Naturopath at Nurtured  Birth

10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Family’s Gut Health

If you’re aiming to support the health of your family, focusing on gut health is one of the best things you can do. 

Research has been looking at the importance of the community of microorganisms (microbiome) that exists in our digestive systems, and how it’s connected to our health and wellbeing. 

A healthy microbiome can influence the current and future health of your family, with emerging evidence showing links to allergies, eczema, the immune system, as well as behaviour and even neurological disorders.

Good digestive health is important for everyone in the family, lowering the risk of developing diseases or disorders now and in their future. Improving your gut health supports your well-being naturally. 

A healthy microbiome needs a balance of the right amount of friendly bacteria against the not so friendly flora. And the more diverse your gut microbiome is, the more likely it will be balanced in your favour – meaning you stay well and avoid future health problems.

Don’t just assume taking a probiotic will improve gut health and that’s all you need to do to support your family’s health. While probiotic supplements might be helpful, research hasn’t yet proven the bacteria in them reach your gut intact.

Most probiotics also contain a limited number of bacteria strains. You may already have enough of certain strains and actually need others, but the only way to tell is to have your stool analysed. Not something everyone does before spending money on supplements. 

And even if probiotic supplements do have health benefits, they aren’t the only way you can improve and maintain your family’s gut health. 

Building good gut health

Following are 10 ways you can make changes now or build on to improve the current and future health of your family. 

  1. Women can improve their child’s future health by making changes to their diet and lifestyle during pregnancy. Support from a naturopath can pinpoint appropriate changes that will increase the beneficial bacteria your baby will be exposed to during birth and afterwards.
  2. If you are having a baby, aim to give birth without or very minimal interventions. Babies born by c-section have different gut flora to those born vaginally and are more likely to have related health problems later in life. If a c-section is necessary, focus on plenty of skin to skin and breastfeeding afterwards, to help ‘seed’ your baby with your good bacteria.
  3. Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of your baby’s life. Breastmilk is the perfect source of nutrition, antibodies and prebiotics needed to nourish your baby’s microbiome. It also helps to protect the gut lining, which is still permeable, and prevent bad bacteria from causing illness or immune problems in their future.
  4. The simplest and easiest way to increase bacteria diversity is to be around different types, and being in nature exposes you to a huge variety of flora. Children who play outdoors in the dirt and with animals have more robust immune systems and are less likely to have allergies etc. Another reason to get your family outside as often as you can to improve your health.
  5. Probiotics are the foods or supplements that contain live bacteria. Prebiotics are the foods that ‘feed’ your existing gut bacteria. So it makes sense you need to eat foods that contain prebiotics to help the good bacteria thrive. Prebiotics are foods with indigestible fibre, such as asparagus, garlic, onions, leeks, bananas, apples, barley and oats.
  6. Move your body. Exercise increases the amount of beneficial bacteria in your digestive system by up to 40%! Get your family active more often and preferably outside where you are exposed to a wider variety of bacteria.
  7. Go easy on the cleaning! Antibacterial soaps, wipes and disinfectants all kill the good bacteria we need for healthy immune systems and gut health. Plain soap and water to wash your children’s hands is fine. A little dirt never hurt!
  8. Avoid antibiotics unless absolutely. Antibiotics have a place in modern medicine but they’re often overprescribed. Keep your family’s immune system functioning to the best of its ability with good gut health as most of our IgA antibodies are made in the gut. IgA is the first line of defense against harmful bacteria and they promote the growth of a healthy microbiome. If you or a member of your family does need antibiotics, follow up with a multi-strain probiotic for at least a month afterwards.
  9. Ditch the processed foods like junk food and sweets or aim to keep them to a minimum. These foods aren’t nutritionally beneficial and they create a hostile environment in your gut for good bacteria. The more you and your family eat of these processed foods, the balance of bacteria changes in favour of unfriendly flora, undermining digestion and health.
  10. Get plenty of dietary probiotics. Live or cultured yoghurts, fermented vegetables such as kimchi, sauerkraut or natto, or drinks such as kefir and kombucha. It hasn’t been proven that the bacteria from these foods actually reaches the gut intact. However, in countries where these foods are traditionally eaten, people seem to have better gut health and a lower incidence of bowel disease.

If you would like to know more about how to support your family’s health and how improving gut health may benefit you, contact Nurtured Birth here

Author: Sam McCulloch, Wordsmith at Nurtured Birth