As the colder weather sets in you may be wondering how to stay healthy during the winter months, by feeding your body certain foods it can help keep your immune system strong and if you’re looking for a way to prevent colds, flues and other infections, you may want to take a trip to the supermarket.
It’s important to note that no supplements will cure or prevent disease, with Covid-19 being a risk this year and possibly well into 2021 – no supplement, diet or lifestyle modification other than social distancing and correct hygiene will protect you, as no research thus far supports the use of supplements to protect again Covid-19.
However, to protect yourself against the common cold, flus and infections try including these powerful immune boosting foods into your meals:
1. Citrus Fruits
Most people turn straight to vitamin C when they’ve caught a cold because it helps build up the immune system – almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. For example:
Ginger is another ingredient people turn to when they get sick, as it’s known to decrease inflammation (which can help a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses) and is also known to help with nausea.
Yogurts labelled with the phrase “live and active cultures” such as Greek yogurt stimulate the immune system to help fight disease. Yogurt can also be a good source of vitamin D, so it’s good to look for brands with this vitamin.
4. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients, including phosphorous and magnesium. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of vitamins B-6 and E, which are important in regulating and maintaining immune system function (other foods with high amounts of vitamin E include avocados and dark leafy greens).
5. Green Tea
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. However, green tea excels in levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) a powerful antioxidant and studies have shown that EGCG enhances the immune system.
Kiwis are full of essential nutrients including folate, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
Broccoli is full of vitamins and minerals – packed with vitamins A, C, and E. As well as being one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on you plate it is also a great source of fiber and antioxidants.
Spinach is packed with antioxidants and beta carotene, which both help our immune systems fight off infections, as well as being a good source of vitamin C.
9. Red Bell Peppers
Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain almost three times as much vitamin C than most citrus fruits. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene which converts into vitamin A; beneficial for good vision and eye health, a strong immune system, and for healthy skin and mucous membranes.
Turmeric, a key ingredient in many curries has been used for years as an anti-inflammatory. Research has shown that the high concentration of curcumin, which gives turmeric it’s distinctive bright yellow colour can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage, and is promising as an immune booster.
Papaya is another fruit loaded with vitamin C. As a fruit it also has a decent amount of potassium, magnesium and folate which are beneficial to your overall health, and contain a digestive enzyme called papain that has anti-inflammatory effects.
People have used garlic to fight infections for generations, it’s thought that the immune boosting properties comes from it’s heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds.
Blueberries are full of antioxidants, including a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin that help to boost the immune system. Studies have shown that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense.
14. Oily Fish
Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.
When it comes to winter time, most people imminently think of vitamin C to fight off colds, however vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin which requires the presence of fat to be absorbed – nuts, such as almonds are packed with vitamin E and healthy fats.
16. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains an antioxidant called throbomine, whoch can help boost the immune system by protecting the body’s cells from free radicals, which are molecules that the body produces when it breaks down food or comes into contact with pollutants – free radicals can damage body cells, and may contribute to disease.
Naturally people jump to chicken soup when they get sick, but there more to the humble bowl of soup than meets the eye as it may help lower inflammation, actually improving cold symptoms.
Poultry such as chicken and turkey are high in vitamin B-6, which is vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells. Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones which contain gelatin, chondroitin, and other nutrients are helpful for healing the gut and building up immunity.
When you think of immune boosting foods, you wouldn’t naturally think of shellfish however, certain types of shellfish are packed with zinc, which helps out immune cells function. Varieties of shellfish that are high in zinc include:
19. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another rich source of beta carotene – they’re beneficial in keeping the skin healthy and may even provide some protection against skin damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays.