Eat Healthy - Your Immune System Will Thank You for It!
I am sure we all know that feeding our body certain foods can help to keep our immune systems nice and strong. If you're looking to keep generally healthy or are trying to avoid catching the dreaded winter, or even summer cold or flu then have a read of our top pick of immune Boosting Foods.
The next step after reading our blog is to plan your meals for the week ahead, making sure each meal includes at least one of these foods. It’s then time to write that shopping list and head to the supermarket or local grocery store to get your ‘healthy food shop’ on!
Most people wait to increase their vitamin C intake after they've caught a cold. This is because Vitamin C helps build up our immune systems however, what is important to note is that your body doesn't produce or store vitamin C so you need a daily hit for your continued health.
Pretty much all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and with our amazing year-round Australian produce it is easy to add a ‘squeeze’ of the good stuff to any meal or drink. Popular citrus fruits include Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Grapefruit and Mandarins.
A little-known fact is that Red Capsicums contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruit! The red capsicum is also a very rich source of beta carotene which may help to keep your eyes and skin healthy. So in short, the red capsicum can keep you both looking great and feeling great.
One of our favourites, broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. As well as being packed to the hilt with vitamin A, C, and E, broccoli is also bursting with a whole range of antioxidants and fibre. Without doubt one of the healthiest vegetables you can have in your diet! A key to keeping all this goodness in place is to cook it for as little time as possible or even eat it raw by throwing some in your green smoothie or chopped fine and placed over your salad.
Garlic is one of the most popular foods in the world and can be found in almost every cuisine. It has been recognised as being key in fighting infections since the early civilisations, and we all know how good it tastes, the ultimate win-win! Garlic has also been reported as having the ability to lower blood pressure and slow down the hardening of the arteries. What gives garlic its immune-boosting properties appear to be its heavy concentration of sulphur containing compounds known as allicin.
Another food with international acclaim and also a go-to ingredient for many of us when we are sick. The reason for this is that ginger may help decrease inflammation which can then help with that dreaded sore throat, as well as a range of other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger has also been widely reported as helping to decrease nausea and has often appeared in travel sickness remedies for this reason.
Spinach is another food that is high in its vitamin C content. Spinach also boasts antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection fighting ability of our immune system. Spinach is at its healthiest for us when eaten raw or cooked for as little time as possible. In saying that, light cooking can actually enhance its vitamin A content and allows other nutrients to be released.
In terms of either preventing or fighting a cold or flu then vitamin E has always taken a backseat to its cousin vitamin C. It shouldn’t be forgotten though how key vitamin E is to ensure a healthy immune system. Vitamin E is what is known as a fat-soluble vitamin which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed by the body. This is where nuts like almonds come into play as they are not only packed with vitamin E but they are also loaded with healthy fats.
We wanted to include a drink in this list, so we are going with green tea. Tea in general, is packed with flavonoids which is a type of antioxidant. Where green tea shines is then with its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, often referred to as EGCG, a powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function and added to this, green tea is also a source of the amino acid L-theanine which may aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells.
Kiwi fruits are full of heaps of essential nutrients including; folate, potassium, vitamin K and vitamin C. With the vitamin C boosting your white blood cells to fight infection, the other nutrients in the kiwi fruit help keep the rest of your body functioning properly, plus they taste great!
Sunflower seeds are also packed full of nutrients including magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin B-6. The sunflower seed is also incredibly high in vitamin E which is one of the most power antioxidants around. Vitamin E plays an important role in regulating and maintaining our immune system function so it is a must for the shopping list.
Other ways to boost your immune system
Variety in what you eat plays a key role in ensuring a healthy immune system and is very important for a balanced and nutrition packed diet. To just eat one of the foods listed here will not be enough to fight off a cold or flu, or any other bug you are trying to avoid. Pay attention to your serving sizes and the recommended daily intakes for these foods and don’t overdo one single vitamin at the cost of missing out on others.
Eating right is just the start to ensuring a healthy immune system. Exercising regularly also plays a critical role. Contact your local Plus Fitness and speak to a Personal Trainer that has qualifications in advising on nutrition as well as asking for a tailored exercise plan.
You can also download the free Plus Fitness App in the App Store or Google Play to get access to a whole range of at home exercise solutions that will help you keep fit and active while you are working on your immune boosting food intake. Download it here https://z5m7.app.link/plusfitness.