Finding yourself craving comfort foods as the temperatures drop and the days get shorter? Who doesn’t?
But scoffing down salt-encrusted hot chips or gooey melt-in-the-mouth chocolates as you huddle by the heater in winter doesn’t do your immune system any favours. Thanks to COVID-19, we’ve all become super-conscious of how washing our hands can help stave off unwanted illnesses. Our diet has an important part to play too.
As we head into the cold and flu season here are nine ways to give your immune system a boost.
Embrace the season
Strawberries and mangoes may be enticing at any time of year, but meals that make winter fruit and veg the heroes are better for your bod. It’s been harvested at the peak time and is packed full of the vitamins needed to get you through the winter months.
Think citrus fruit – such as grapefruit, oranges, and mandarins – and broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, and spinach.
Adding oily fish to your menu a couple of times a week is a great way to turbo-charge your immunity. The likes of salmon, tuna, and sardines contain the omega 3 fatty acids that are vital to a healthy immune system. Plus, they are a source of vitamin A, D, B6, and B12.
Tinned, fresh, frozen — it’s all good.
Keep ‘em lean and mean
Pub grub can make it seem normal to eat a slab of steak or a gargantuan meal of ribs. But for the sake of your health meat-lovers should stick with smaller portions about the size of their palm. And think lean.
You can get a good amount of immunity-boosting iron and zinc from lean poultry such as chicken and turkey breast with skin removed and lean red meat.
Snacking on raw or unsalted nuts – or adding them to meals – is a good support for your immune system. Almonds, cashews, and walnuts contain protein, healthy fats, and vitamin E. A small daily handful should do the trick.
Sow some oats
Rolled oats contain a type of soluble fibre that has immunity-boosting properties and can help your body fight infection. So go wild and sow some rolled oats into smoothies, porridge, or a warming oat crumble for dessert.
Greek yoghurt contains more protein and less sugar than plain yoghurt and it’s full of vitamin B, folate, calcium, and good bacteria. A dollop can easily be added to breakfasts, desserts, or used as a substitute for sour cream.
Whether you add it to sauces, dishes, or roast it whole, garlic packs a powerful punch. It contains an antioxidant which has antibacterial properties.
Drinking green tea is another way to power up your immune system. The humble cuppa contains polyphenols (antioxidants) that can protect the body’s cells against damage.
Chicken soup is often a go-to when you feel a cold or flu coming on. Here’s why: it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help keep upper respiratory tract infections at bay.
Put your health first in Winter to help keep you fighting fit until the warmer weather returns.
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