By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
When the temperature plummets, our workload switches up a notch and we can't slow down even if we want to, nasty viruses have a way of entering the body and running rampage. Jumping from one person to the next the infections work their way around the community and at some point or other you will inevitably run into a sick person. Your best defence to prevent becoming sick yourself is to feed your immune system the foods which strengthen the immune system and fight. 1. Oranges, mandarins, lemons
The foods you want to include in your infection blasting army can be found in the list below and there's no coincidence that you can find them all from your-one-stop- health food store, the local greengrocer!
Immune boosting foods
Citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins and lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant which helps to fight infection.
Although vitamin C is found in the majority of brightly coloured fruit and veg, it's unstable when heated and the best way to get it is from raw fruit such as citrus. Another great way to boost your body with vitamin C is to sprinkle lemon juice over vegetables just before serving. It not only preserves the vitamin C when it's added after cooking, the lemon juice helps to make other nutrients, such as iron in green vegetables, more bioavailable to the body.
Once of the best fruit sources of Vitamin C is kiwi fruit. One fruit a day is considered more than the required daily intake however nutrition and health experts agree that with Vitamin C you can eat much more and benefit all the more for doing so.
Who doesn't love roast carrots at this time of year? Carrots are one of the best sources of beta-carotene and is used to make vitamin A another powerful antioxidant which protects the body and promotes a healthy immune system and good vision.
Around this time of year you will find fresh turmeric, which looks similar to ginger root except its slimmer and brilliant yellow under its skin. Turmeric has been used by the Indian culture for many thousands of years for its active ingredient curcumin which is responsible for an extraordinary number of health benefits. Around this time of year turmeric is particularly good as an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory. We love it in our morning green smoothie, and in the many spicy casseroles enjoyed over the cooler months.
Members of the allium family, including onions, leeks, shallots and escalots are natural ingredients to use at this time of year in casseroles and curries. Our stomach loves them as well and that's because they are natural probiotics which provide fuel for the good bacteria in our gut. And because over 70% of the immune system is controlled from the gut, if we keep the gut healthy, it keeps us healthy.
A natural comrade of onions, some say you should eat garlic raw for maximum benefit which may be so but if you can't bear that idea take comfort that garlic also contains the antioxidant quercetin which is antibiotic and anti-viral. The double bonus here is that it's not destroyed by cooking.
7. Legumes and Pulses
Beans, chickpeas and lentils, the mainstay of vegetarian cooking for plant protein and good gut health. Remembering that 70% of the immune system is in the gut and the gut is the place to target if we want to maintain strong immune function, legumes are incredible probiotics because they contain soluble fibre and resistant starch.
Ginger with its slightly spicy, pungent properties is an excellent food for great digestions - and for adding flavour to curries and stir-fries. Studies show that ginger is rich in several phytonutrients with a high antioxidant capacity which can improve immunity and reduce inflammation.
Be the first to comment!