Whether it’s coughs, colds or Covid, this winter seems to have knocked us all for six. While plenty of fluids and a Netflix binge in bed may help ease the worst cold ever, we are big believers in the idea that prevention is better than cure.
This means going back to basics and boosting your immune system, with powerful drinks and super soups, as well as plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. That’s right – all those things your grandmother told you to eat more of!
In this article, we offer a breakdown of the best foods for your immune system, offering you five items to add to your next shopping list.
There’s more to ginger than those crumbly biscuits. Ginger is one superfood – actually, a super-spice – that can boast a ton of anti’s. It’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antispasmodic, and even anti-cancer.
In other words, ginger is a very handy tool to have in your fight against colds and flu. It is also packed with nutrients including immunity-boosting vitamins A, C and E, as well as loads of antioxidants.
Chewing on a ginger root may leave your mouth on fire, so instead enjoy ginger as part of a classic warming immune boosting drink, along with honey and lemon (and maybe one of those crumbly ginger biscuits for good measure).
Anything that looks like a little tree must be good for you, so there should be no surprise to see broccoli on this list. If you ever needed more of an excuse to eat broccoli, it just so happens to be one of the best foods for immune system boosting.
The reason is that this vitamin powerhouse contains ample natural doses of nutrients, such as vitamins C and E. In fact, 100g of raw broccoli contains a whopping 89mg of vitamin C – a well-known vitamin used to combat the common cold. That’s more than double the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for adults.
Interestingly, broccoli also contains a decent amount of vitamin A per serving. Vitamin A has been found to assist with the health of the respiratory system, with a study finding that a high intake of the vitamin is linked to fewer respiratory complaints in adults.
When preparing broccoli, it is best to lightly steam the vegetable as this method helps preserve the water-soluble vitamins, which – in the case of broccoli – is that precious vitamin C.
If the 21st century has taught us anything, it’s that the world loves avocados. Can you walk into any café and not find avocado toast on the menu?
Luckily for the brunchers out there, avocados are another solid immune system food to eat more of this winter.
This is because of the vitamin E content. This fat-soluble vitamin supports the growth of T cells, which help the body battle infection and enhance its immune response to fight colds. Therefore, the more dietary vitamin E you consume, the better.
In 100g of avocado (which is around half a large avocado), you’ll find 2.07mg of vitamin E – which is a good portion of your 15mg RDA. Plus, with 10mg of vitamin C for the same size serving, you now need no excuse to head for brunch during cold season!
At WholyMe, we are big advocates of this fruit, as we use avocado oil in our award-winning Relief Balm for its softening and regenerating properties.
Turmeric must be one of the most talked-about foods over the last few years. The golden spice has gone from a standard staple of Indian cuisine to featuring in everything from lattes to ice cream – and for good reason.
The health benefits of turmeric are well publicised, with the powerful root proving particularly good at boosting your immune system.
Turmeric boasts more than 300 nutrients, including vitamin C, iron and zinc (all immunity boosters). Its active compound curcumin features anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which can help your body fight low-level inflammation.
Unless you really have a penchant for turmeric ice-cream, the best way to enjoy turmeric is added to rice, soups and curries. Be sure to combine it with black pepper, containing the bioactive compound piperine, which enhances the absorption of curcumin in the body.
Finally, we come to garlic. As well as warding off vampires and unwanted kisses, garlic is great at fighting colds and flu thanks to its immune-boosting qualities.
Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which – when released by crushing the cloves – acts as a strong antibiotic that has antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It can boost your immune system by stimulating certain cell types.
So, next time you are in the kitchen, be sure to throw together some garlic with ginger and turmeric for a super cold-killing recipe! Broccoli curry with a side of avocado anybody?