As autumn hits early this year, so do flu and colds. It’s important to keep warm and health so our immune systems can fend off those nasty seasonal viruses. So to protect yourself and your family from the illnesses that come with the cold weather, make the following foods a part of your regular diet:
Not all bacteria are bad. You need to load your gut with good bacteria (also called probiotics) to improve digestion and strengthen your immune system. If you are on a diet, plain Greek yoghurt is a great dessert option.
2. Green Tea
Instead of coffee, you may want to warm up your morning with a cup of hot green tea. Research shows that this popular beverage contains lots of antioxidants that are believed to help destroy viruses that cause influenza. Catechins – a special group of antioxidants found in green tea strengthens immune cells and inhibit the production of disease-causing inflammatory compounds.
Aside from being flavourful and pungent, there’s another reason why you should serve your family with their favourite curry dish this winter. Turmeric, the golden spice used in preparing curry meals, has cumin – an essential compound that has anti-inflammatory properties. Cumin comes in supplement forms as well.
These very pungent and tasty vegetable from the onion family is fully-packed with essential nutrients that promote better a immune system. They include vitamin C, calcium, potassium, folic acid, and poly-phenols (antioxidants also found in green tea).
5. Chicken soup
Eating something warm in a very cold day increases your body temperature, making you feel warmer and more at ease. In one study, it was found that hot chicken soup is more effective than hot water in de-congesting clogged nasals.
6. Fruits and vegetables (lots of these!)
Instead of pasta, why not have a large bowl of vegetable (or fruit) salad for dinner? The more colourful your salad is, the healthier it becomes. Pile your plate with fresh red tomatoes, lettuce and other greens, beans, mushrooms, blueberries, oranges, apple slices, and other fruits you like. Sprinkle it with pecans, almonds or pistachios for more flavour and nutrition!
Oily fish such as salmon are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids that keep your body (especially your heart and brain) in good condition. They are also among the few sources of vitamin D which may be difficult to get from the sun during winter. In a recent study, it was found that 50% of the British population are deficient in vitamin D during winter, and 16% of them even have a severe deficiency.
If you want to stay protected from flu, cough and colds, make sure your body has a sufficient amount of vitamin C. You can get this from oranges, grapefruit, guava, lemons, spinach, broccoli and other fruits and vegetables. You can also take vitamin C in supplement form.
Planning to make a home-made pizza? Why not top it with lots of roasted garlic? This world-renowned spice has antibacterial and antiviral properties that are most helpful during the winter. Studies show that garlic prevents the onset of colds and for those who already have a cold, speeds up recovery and reduces the risk of a second infection.
Beta-carotene can transform itself into vitamin A, an essential nutrient that aids in various immune functions. Scientific studies reveal that beta-carotene also reduce the possibility of infection.
Staying in bed is only fun when it is planned. Other than eating right, don’t forget to exercise and de-stress for optimal immunity boost!