The colder weather is approaching, which can bring with it its share of sniffles, colds, flus and sickness. Prevention is always better than cure, and one of the best ways to boost your immune system is to consume a healthy dose of fruit and vegetables. Boosting antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables, especially those which are in season, could be the best defence against winter sniffles and sneezes.
Some studies have shown that carotenoids can help immune function, and the antioxidant allicin is said to have antiviral properties, however, there is no silver bullet for a strong immune system. Eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables each day will give us the best mix of antioxidants, in the right amounts.
One of the most important parts of a winter diet is making sure to consume enough zinc, found in lean red meat, fish and poultry, wholegrain cereals, legumes, reduced-fat dairy foods and nuts.Plus, according to a UK study involving more than 180 people, eating breakfast may also help fight off colds and flu. Along with stress, the researchers found that missing breakfast was linked to susceptibility to illnesses, such as the common cold.
Our Top 10 Diet Tips To Boost Your Immune System:
1) Choose a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, in a range of colours. Picking those in season is good for the budget and a great start to winter.
2) For a healthy immune system, having enough zinc, found in lean red meat, fish and poultry as well as wholegrain cereals, legumes, reduced-fat dairy foods and nuts.
3) Start the day with a warm winter breakfast. Missing breakfast can be linked to susceptibility to illnesses. Try porridge with reduced-fat milk, or poached or boiled eggs on wholegrain toast, and some fruit.
4) Include yoghurt in your diet. Yoghurt is a good source of healthy bacteria, and a food known for its immunity boosting properties. Make a special effort to up your yoghurt intake if you are taking antibiotics, as the healthy bacteria can ease an upset stomach caused by the antibiotics.
5) Try nourishing winter staples like chunky vegetable and lentil soups, and slow-cooked casseroles made with lean meat and vegetables like sweet potato and carrot. Many soups and casseroles provide a variety of vegetables which contain the best mix of antioxidants for a healthy immune system.
6) Have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with high levels of Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to help fight infection by enhancing immune system function, and can be sourced from a myriad of fruits and vegetables. The most obvious sources are citrus fruits (oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and lemons), which are in season in winter. But if you’re looking for sources beyond those, consider capsicum, broccoli and kiwifruit, which all have high levels of Vitamin C.
7) Drink some tea. For thousands of years the Chinese have used tea to treat many aliments including colds and coughs, body aches and pains. Tea is a natural source of antioxidants called flavonoids, which help strengthen the body’s immune system.
8) Drink plenty of water. It’s important to stay hydrated, even in winter.
9) Keep up with regular exercise –it’s a known immune system booster.
10) Visit a naturopath if you are unsure if your current dietary habits are going to keep you well this winter.