As I sit here writing this snow is settling on the rooftops and the air has a definite chill to it. Winter is well on its way, bringing with it the dreaded cold. Cold – proof your diet with my immune boosting tips to help you stay cold free this winter.
Immune System boosters
1. Peppers and Kiwi fruit
Bursting with vitamin C these help to increase the production of infection fighting white blood cells and helps to prevent the entry of viruses.
2. Sweet potatoes and Carrots
These colourful vegetables contain the immune boosting antioxidant beta-carotene which keeps the nasal passages healthy in order to keep viruses out, and boost the number of infection fighting cells. As well as providing a barrier to infection they also have anti viral properties.
A great source of Vitamin E to provide antioxidants and stimulate the production of natural killer cells which destroy bacteria.
4. Brazil nuts
Full of the antioxidant selenium which stimulates the immune system to fight infections
Whilst not for everyone, oysters are a rich source of zinc which boost the production of infection fighting white blood cells and helps them fight with more oomph!
Full of omega 3 fatty acids which increase the activity of bacteria fighting white blood cells, and contain immune system boosting Vitamin D.
A great antioxidant that also helps to stimulate the production of white blood cells and increases their activity to help keep bacteria and viruses at bay.
Green tea in particular. Studies have shown that drinking green tea can enhance the immune system because it has a high concentration of polyphenols and flavanoids. These antioxidants seek out and destroy cell damaging free radicals.
9. Live natural yogurt
The probiotics in yoghurt help to boost the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut and help to stimulate the immune system. As 80%of your immune system is in your gut, daily consumption of this is a safe bet.
Feeling down? Low moods can dampen your immune system. Eat tryptophan rich turkey which helps to produce the happy hormone serotonin.
11. Raw milk
Having trouble sleeping? Inadequate rest can weaken the immune system. The protein in milk helps to produce the sleep inducing hormone, melatonin.
An immune boosting staple, this mighty vegetable is rich in fibre and antioxidants, keeping your gut and immune system healthy.
Immune System zappers
Cakes, biscuits, chocolate and other sugary snacks feed the bad bacteria in your gut making you more prone to illnesses. They also rob the body of vital nutrients and reduce the effectiveness of white blood cells to kill germs. Swap sugary snacks for fruits, nuts and seeds to keep viruses at bay.
2. Processed foods and meats
These are high in additives, preservatives, chemicals and saturated fat all of which compromise the immune system.
Excessive alcohol intakes deplete vital immune boosting nutrients from the body and place a toxic burden on the liver. Similar to the effects of sugar, alcohol reduces white blood cells fighting ability.
Sometimes you just need a helping hand. I swear by:
- Probiotics – Look out for the Lactobacillus acidophilus strain
- Vitamin D drops – aim for 5000 IUDs