As winter approaches, many of us start to worry about catching colds and flu. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to boost your immunity, including eating foods that are rich in the essential vitamins and antioxidants your body needs.
Incorporating these foods into your diet can help to boost your immune system and keep you healthy:
- Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, as well as other fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, kiwi fruit and red peppers. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to fight off infections and keep your immune system healthy. Try drinking a glass of fresh orange juice with breakfast or eating a piece of citrus fruit as a snack.
- Garlic: Garlic is a natural antibiotic that can help to fight off infections, it contains a compound called allicin that has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Add fresh garlic to your meals or take a garlic supplement.
- Ginger: Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help to reduce inflammation in the body, and also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Add fresh ginger to your meals, or drink ginger tea.
- Green Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and broccoli are packed with vitamins and minerals that help to keep your immune system healthy. They are rich in antioxidants that help to fight off infections, and also fibre which contributes to the maintenance of gut health and may indirectly support immune function.
- Yogurt: Yogurt contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help to boost your immune system. Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt with live cultures and add fresh fruit for extra flavour.
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are rich in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps to support your immune system. Try adding almonds, cashews or sunflower seeds to your meals.
If you're unable to get enough of certain nutrients through your diet, multivitamins can be a helpful supplement. The most accurate way to determine if you're deficient in any nutrients and would benefit from a multivitamin is asking a doctor.
Remember to also get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and wash your hands regularly to help defend your body from infection.