There is actually a misunderstanding of how the immune system works. A healthy immune system likes to be in balance and it is more helpful to talk about foods that support normal or ideal functioning. An overactive immune system can lead to problems like autoimmune conditions and allergies.
However to make sure our own immune systems are working well, it is important to eat well. Make sure you have your 5 to 8 a day from a variety of vegetables and fruits of different colours, including greens, since these provide a wide range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Similarly including 3 daily portions of wholegrains which are rich sources of B vitamins and fibre, as well as containing useful amounts of other minerals and electrolytes, helps our bowel to function well. Fibre is fermented in the colon to short chain fatty acids such as butyrate which then boost our immune system, and boosts a healthy microbiome. The wholegrain foods like a slice of wholemeal bread, porridge made from oats, oatcakes, brown rice and wholegrain cereals all help to fill us up too, making us less likely to snack unhealthily!
Having oily fish at least weekly or a fish oil supplement also makes sure your immune system can function effectively.
Eating too many high sugar and fatty treats means that we are full up from foods which are low in the nutrients our body needs to function. This can lead to overeating as our bodies will still not be satisfied, or to fatigue as our bodies' need for iron, vitamin B6, vitamin c and zinc may not be met.
The limit for free sugars (added sugars excluding those eaten in a piece of fruit or from dairy) for everyone is recommended to be 30g a day. Keeping to this limit is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes, and for those who are overweight.
Excess sugars in the system of people with diabetes can cause “AGEs” or “Advanced Glycation End products” which attach to our cells and seem to make people more vulnerable to COVID-19, which seems to explain the higher incidence of serious COVID-19 in people who are overweight or who have diabetes.
So there is evidence that now is the time to take your diet very seriously if you are diabetic. The good news is that if you can lose weight, around 15% body weight or 15kg, within 6 years or so of diagnosis, insulin resistance can be reversible and the diabetes can go into remission. Keeping to 2 or 3 meals a day, following our healthy eating guidelines, is the safest way.