Struggling to shake off the lurgy? Unfortunately, by the end of January and into February, our summer stores of vitamin D have dwindled to a year-round low, negatively impacting our in-built immune defences and leaving us more prone to picking up bugs. With over 200 varieties of the common cold virus it is hardly surprising that the average adult typically suffers an average of 2-4 colds a year, and for children this can be as many as 12.
However, there are some tasty ways to protect yourself, here’s our Top 10 Immune Boosting Foods:
- Mushrooms – shiitake in particular contain sugars called ‘polysaccharides’, which along with zinc can increase the production of white blood cells and help to prevent infection. Mushrooms are also a source of vitamin D, leave them outside or on a sunny windowsill for 30 mins to increase their natural vitamin D content. Sautee with garlic and parsley as a tasty side dish. Alternatively, top up levels on the go with our delicious Vitamin D Mango & Passionfruit.
- Garlic is a well-known anti-viral, as we breathe the essential oils move through our respiratory tract helping to combat lurking bugs or viruses, if you can face it, raw is best!
- Yoghurt – a healthy gut means a healthy immune system, choose probiotic live yoghurt containing strains of lactobacillus to support beneficial bacteria and promote antibody production.
- Cruciferous veg like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts are packed with nutrients and contain ‘choline’ which strengthens cells in our gut wall, helping to keep bugs out! Whip up a garlic yoghurt dip to have with cauliflower or broccoli crudités
- Sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash and dark leafy greens contain beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A and helps to protect the respiratory and intestinal tracts, you may also like our Vitamin A Blackcurrant & Blueberry.
- Eggs are rich in protein and provide key fat-soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K for immune function. They also contain B vitamins for energy production, plus minerals zinc and selenium. If you’re feeling run down, enjoy a boost of energy with our Apple & Raspberry blend of B Vits.
- Greens, like kale and spinach have high levels of vitamin C our number 1 healing nutrient, try to include at every meal by adding a handful to smoothies, soups and salads. As vitamin C is water soluble you need to keep levels topped up, our Vitamin C Sparkling Orange is a tasty solution.
- Cinnamon has antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties as well as helping to support the metabolism. Combine with oats at breakfast, dust on fresh fruit or add a sprinkle to coffee or hot chocolate.
- Ginger – when a cold sets in, an inflamed respiratory tract causes congestion. Ginger contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, try it fresh and steeped in hot water with lemon as a soothing drink or grate into curries and stir-fries for a fiery kick.
- Tomatoes – lycopene gives their flesh it’s red colour and offers an array of health-building benefits, including reducing respiratory inflammation.