Well, it’s official – summer is over. We sailed though March and most of April with uncommonly warm weather, but the tide is now turning and we’re all shaking out those winter coats in preparation. What’s more, some of us might be already be battling the first of the cool-weather sniffles. Before the flu season gets really underway, now is the perfect time to start arming your body against illness.
We always recommend natural health solutions where possible, and believe that prevention is better than a cure. So, rather than heading to the pharmacy to stock up on flu pills, give your immune system the best fighting chance you can by adding these eight great immunity boosting foods to your diet:
Probiotics are the live cultures found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh and sauerkraut. Having a healthy gut is essential for immunity because our gut wall is home to 70 percent of our immune cells. The ‘good’ bacterias present in these live cultures have been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds, and have also been linked to enhanced T-Cell (immune cell) production.
Vitamin C is one of the most well-known immune system boosters. And, because our bodies cannot create or store it, it’s essential that your daily diet provides adequate amounts of vitamin C. Thankfully, it’s easy (and delicious) to get your daily dose of this powerful immune booster, with vitamin C found in many of your favourite fruits including oranges, strawberries, kiwi and guava.
Since the Aztec times, chia has been prized for its medicinal properties. Chia seeds have a very high antioxidant rating which protects our cells from damage. They are also a rich source of soluble fibre, which works to keep your digestive tract healthy and is directly linked to stronger immunity. Chia also provides a long list of nutrients that are known to support a healthy immune system, including vitamin C, flavonols, vitamin E, lignin and phenolic acids.
Garlic isn’t just famous for warding off vampires, it also wards off illness! With a number of nutrients that have been shown to be good for your health – such as arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and selenium – eating garlic will help boost your t-cells, and help your body fight stress and fatigue. It is also antiseptic, antifungal and provides vitamins B1, B6 and C, iron and phosphorus and alliin
Antioxidant-rich green tea strengthens your immune system by protecting against oxidative stress that can damage cells. These antioxidants have also been shown to prevent autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, protecting your body against damage from free radicals and helping your immune system to operate at its best.
The Vitamin A in sweet potatoes helps regulate the immune system and protects from infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Sweet potatoes are also rich in beta-carotene, which many scientists believe may help increase T-cell activity in the body.
Mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins, trace minerals, fibre and even protein. The high levels of beta-glucans in mushrooms help to keep your immune cells alert, and they also combat disease by providing numerous important vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Mushrooms have a high antioxidant rating and are also anti-inflammatory and anti-viral.
Broccoli is supercharged with an arsenal of vitamins and minerals that strengthen immunity – specifically vitamins A, C, and E, as well as numerous antioxidants. Broccoli is also anti-inflammatory and is a great source of fibre which promotes healthy digestion and cardiovascular health.