Top 10 Superfoods To Boost Your Immune System This Winter
Keeping away the cold and flu!
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A strong immune system is key to a healthy body all year round.
So, along with that new gym routine you've refined over the month of January, why not have a go at adding these superfoods to help keep yourself healthy?
In case you didn't already know, Vitamin C is key in helping to prevent or fight off a cold.
Evidence suggests that Vitamin C can increase the production of white blood cells, which is the primary way your body fights infections.
An easy tip to getting more Vitamin C into your meals is to is to squeeze some juices onto your meals - or if you want to really stock up, kiwis are naturally packed with vitamin C as well as loads of other essential nutrients, including folate, potassium and vitamin K which all help to keep your body functioning properly.
If you feel like you need an early morning boost to get your day going, a cup of hot water with lemon first thing will kick start your metabolism!
I think we'll all love this one. The ever popular flavouring is a great for your health - even if it isn't for your breath...
Garlic has been used for centuries to fight infections and can help lower blood pressure and improve the health of your arteries as well. Not to get all technical on you, but garlic's concentration of sulfur is particularly known for having anti-inflammatory effects.
There is also some evidence to suggest that garlic can evfen help to cure a cold! Although more research is needed, one trial did find that people who took garlic supplements reported spending fewer days off sick.
Just don't eat a clove of garlic before a date...
Ginger has had a popular comeback in the fitness industry in recent years and for good reason.
It can decrease nausea, reduce inflammation and has some cholesterol-lowering properties.
Although, it's best to err on the side of caution and only add small amounts to your food or drinks as it can be quite potent...
Both green and black teas are absolutely chock full of lovely nutrients. In fact, it's been reported that people who drink more green tea will 'live a healthier and longer life' than those who don't.
Not to get all technical on you AGAIN, but green tea is a good source of an amino acid that may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your cells.
Green tea is also a rich source of antioxidants, particularly one called EGCG, which has been shown to enhance the body's immune function, outgunning black tea because it doesn't go through the fermentation process.
Stick the kettle on...
So obviously this one isn't for the vegans and veggies, but shellfish are packed with zinc.
We need zinc in our systems so our immune cells can function properly and as intended.
Shellfish that are high in zinc are crabs, clamms, lobster and my favourite mussels!
Just like our citrus friends at number one, spinach is jam-packed with vitamin C.
But on top of that, it's also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which could increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Like broccoli (see below), spinach is at its healthiest when cooked as little as possible, although light cooking does enhance its vitamin A as well as allowing other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid.
Fun fact, to get the most out of your broccoli, it's best to cook it as little as possible. This way it keeps hold of all its nutrients.
Broccoli has got it all, with vitamins A, C, and E as well as loads of antioxidants and fibre, it's essentially one of the healthiest vegetables you can have on your plate!
Not to mention it's bloody delicious too!
Again, not one for the vegans, but some yoghurts contain high amounts of vitamin D.
We're not talking about flavoured yoghurts that are packed with sugar though, we're talking about the greek kind or natural.
Thought to help regulate the immune system and boost our body's defences against diseases, vitamin D deficiencies are especially common among people who don't see a lot of sunlight (hello) so making sure you're consuming plenty of dietary sources is almost certainly a good idea - particularly in winter!
You'll be surpised to know that red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits.
Red bell peppers are also a good source for beta carotene, which is a natural pigment found in fruits and vegetables like carrots. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.
Almonds are packed with vitamin E, which usually takes a back seat compared to vitamin C but is key to having a healthy immune system.
Around 46 almonds will supply your body with the daily reccommended amount of vitamin E - so get snacking!
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