How to Eat Your Way to a Stronger Immune System
As the world clamors for Covid-19 vaccines, the notion of immunity seems to be on everyone’s minds. But a primary tool for fighting illnesses is already inside us: our gut. The trillions of bacteria and other microbes that line our intestines impact our chances of developing an array of conditions, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, and the composition of those microorganisms is primarily determined by what we eat.
London-based nutritionist Kate Llewellyn-Waters’s new book, The Immunity Cookbook: How to Strengthen Your Immune System and Boost Long-Term Health, with 100 Easy Recipes (Quadrille), offers a practical road map to optimal gut health. After demonstrating how smart lifestyle choices—such as getting proper rest, exercise, sun exposure, and keeping stress levels low—contribute to physical fitness, she dives into dishes that boost the immune system while tantalizing taste buds. Learn how to serve up an anti-inflammatory breakfast with a turmeric scramble, harness the power of antioxidants with chili and coconut salmon, or indulge in a fiber- and beta carotene–rich chocolate avocado mousse, all made using everyday ingredients and following straightforward instructions. A section called “Homemade Staples” details how to make your own coconut oil, nut butter, and fermented fare, including kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir. There are also gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan options, as well as meal plans that distill the book’s recipes into a handy table, organized by day of the week.
Each condiment and dish is informed by the benefits of eating whole, minimally processed foods, which are more likely to carry the advantageous gut bacteria that fortify the body’s ability to combat disease. “Never has it been a more appropriate time to address our immunity and gut health,” Llewellyn-Waters writes. “Fortunately, food choice is one of the most significant and valuable opportunities that we can embrace to improve [them].”