TOP 8 Foods To Boost Your Immune System
‘Tis the season- for colds and sneezing
As the weather is very changeable, it is important to keep our immune system strong.
Make sure you include plenty of immune boosting foods in your diet to help ward off nasty colds and flu’s. We’ve put together a simple list of your top 10 go to foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals essential to keep you feeling fit and healthy throughout the winter months.
- Citrus Fruits are a must have in your diet if you want to stay clear winter flu’s. These fruits are rich in Vitamin C which is essential for boosting your immune system and fighting off colds and infections. Vitamin C has the added benefit of contributing to normal collagen formation, which helps promote healthy glowing skin. Citrus fruits include oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, lemons and limes. Why not add a piece of grapefruit to your daily breakfast routine, snack on an orange throughout the day or infuse your water with lemon and lime.
- We all know that vegetables are good for you, but did you know that certain vegetables are particularly good for your immune health? Green, orange and yellow vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals essential for boosting your immune health. These vegetables provide a source of beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A within your body. Beta-Carotene supports the normal function of our immune system while Vitamin A promotes the health of our digestive tract lining. This is essential for protecting our bodies against colds and flu’s as it acts as a barrier to infections. Carrot, sweet potato, kale, asparagus and spinach are all great examples and can be included in your diet through soups, stir-fries, stews, casseroles and smoothies.
- Sprouted Seeds are rich in plant compounds called phytochemicals which help to protect our bodies against oxidative damage and stress in the body. They have been shown to stimulate natural defence systems and decrease the risk of chronic diseases. They are harvested at only 4 days and contain very concentrated quantities of bioactive compounds when compared to market stage mature broccoli. It’s for this reason that broccoli sprouts are considered a novel plant-derived functional food. Our Super Sprouts are also a rich source of vitamin C and iron, both important nutrients for our immune systems. We love topping our soups, boosting our sandwich, wraps and pizzas, but lately have just been eating them straight from the pack. You just feel so good eating them, as you chew The spicy kick from the radish is lovely!
- Berries are a rich source of Vitamin C, antioxidants and polyphenols. Vitamin C is well known for its immune boosting properties, while antioxidants and polyphenols play a role in fighting chronic diseases. Berries add great colour and a sweet taste to many dishes. Try adding them to your crumbles, muffins, yogurts and smoothies to reap their nutritional benefits. Or you can stew your berries and serve them with some yogurt rich in probiotics or make some homemade jam!
- Probiotic Yogurts contain live bacteria that are good for your health, especially your digestive system as they help keep your gut healthy. The live and active cultures may stimulate your immune system and help fight illnesses. Serve it with some warm stewed fruit to boost your Vitamin C intake.
- Pulses – people tend to resort to fruit and vegetables when trying to up their vitamin intake. But it’s important not to forget other very valuable sources such as chickpeas, lentils and beans which are rich in iron and zinc, important for supporting our immune systems. They are so cheap and so versatile and are available in so many formats now, tinned, dried, sprouted, veggie burgers, humous and more.
- Seeds - Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of Zinc which is a mineral well known for supporting a strong and healthy immune system. Zinc has also become popular for the treatment of colds and flus as research suggests it may help reduce the duration of an infection due to its healing properties. Pumpkin seeds can be eaten on their own as a snack, or add them to stir-fries, salads, smoothies or yogurts. Chia seeds are also rich in selenium which strongly influences inflammation and immune responses. Check out Good4U’s healthy range of snacks, toppers and boosters which are a great source of pumpkin seeds.
- Mushrooms are a rich source of Vitamin D2. Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but mushrooms are unique for being the only food in the produce aisle with the ability to increase its vitamin D levels through exposure to UV light or sunlight. The sun is the most common producer of vitamin D as the ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Mushroom farmers took note and began exposing their mushrooms to UV light during the growing process, increasing the overall vitamin D content. Some varieties, such as crimini and portabella, contain higher levels of the plant sterol, ergosterol, which converts to vitamin D upon exposure to UV light and, in turn, results in a higher amount of vitamin D.