The correct diet is essential for warding off infections such as colds and flu. Here are the top foods for a strong immune system and how to include them in your meals.
Humble garlic boasts antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Include it in sauces and marinades,or go to page 34 for roast-garlic hash browns.
Tip: Include it in sauces and marinades.
2. GREEN GENIE
Broccoli is rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps to protect your body against disease. Remember, the stems are as healthy as the florets.
Tip: Add raw broccoli to salads
3. PROCEED GINGERLY
Ginger works as an expectorant and decongestant to break down mucus and ease congestion.
Tip: Steep fresh ginger in hot water to make ginger tea.
4. OMEGA 3, 2, 1… BLAST OFF!
Oily fish such as sardines and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are vital for a strong immune system.
5. FAB FUNGI
Mushrooms are a good source of B-vitamins, which help your body to cope better with stress. Excessive stress weakens your immune system.
Tip: Add to soups, salads and stir-fries.
6. GO PRO(BIOTIC)
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that naturally occur in our bodies. However, stress, sickness, poor diet and certain medications (such as antibiotics) kill off these bacteria, resulting in health issues (such as digestive problems). By forming a natural barrier in the gut against infection and pathogenic (bad) bacteria, probiotics can boost your immune function.
Tip: Find probiotics in cultured dairy products such as buttermilk and yoghurt, and in other fermented foods such as miso.
7. ZINC OR SWIM
Cashew nuts are full of zinc, which has been shown to help ward off colds.
Tip: Toss them into cereals, salads and stir-fries for added crunch.
8. C FOR YOURSELF
Vitamin C helps to boost your immune system, making you less susceptible to colds and flu. Eat plenty of citrus fruits, guavas, tomatoes and peppers.
9. GOOD CARBS
Carbohydrates help your body to regulate levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter which controls both your mood and your appetite. Insufficient carbohydrate intake can lead to mood disturbances as well as poor appetite regulation. That said, you don’t need to eat huge amounts or sugary, refined carbs. Rather choose high-fibre, low-GI options that provide your body with a variety of nutrients, while balancing serotonin. Skip the white bread and rice. Opt for brown rice, quinoa, oats and sweet potatoes.
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