Fruit and vegetables that help boost immunity
Posted on Mar 11, 2020
While our first instinct may be to race to the chemist to stock up on products which claim to fight infection and reduce the severity and duration of a cold or flu, we may be better visiting our local greengrocer to stock up on fruits and veggies which helps to boost the immune system and fight off viruses before they take hold.
Stress, lack of sleep, poor hand hygiene and getting too close to an infected person when they cough or sneeze is enough for a virus to attach itself to the nasal passages, however, there are foods with anti-viral properties which can help boost the immune system.
If you want to stay well this season, a trip to your local greengrocer is a great place to start.
Citrus after stress
Vitamin C is an extremely important immune boosting nutrient. During stress, or after a particularly stressful time, our adrenal glands use up about 80% of the body’s Vitamin C supply which leaves little for the immune system to draw on to defend the system from an attack of a cold or flu virus. Vitamin C does not store for long in the body and it’s important to eat a good supply of vitamin C rich foods each day. Citrus fruits such as lemon, grapefruit, tangelo, and mandarins are all excellent sources of vitamin C.
Other great Vitamin C foods include red chilli, guava, red capsicum, Brussels sprouts, papaya, kale, parsley, Asian greens, kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, mango, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, spinach and tomatoes.
Garlic guards against colds
Ancient folklore suggests the use of garlic to prevent colds and flu.
More recent studies confirm that people who take a daily dose of garlic have fewer colds than those who took a placebo, and, when the garlic eaters did come down with a cold, the duration of illness was shorter. The garlic must be fresh and crushed in order to activate garlic’s antiviral properties derived from the natural sulphur compound, allicin, which gives garlic its characteristic smell. The ideal prescription is one or two raw cloves, crushed a day. If that seems unpalatable, you may prefer to add the garlic to dips, dressings, mashed potato, and fresh juices. Eat it quickly though because the volatile compounds are lost about one hour after crushing. Other natural sulphurous vegetables include onions and leeks.
The magic of mushrooms
Have you ever wondered why some people are always catching colds and others do not? Emerging research suggests this may be due to a Vitamin D deficiency and those who repeatedly catch colds have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is a nutrient which the body can make easily when exposed to sunlight, however during the colder months when colds and flu are rife we’re less likely to bare our bodies outside. Vitamin D can be obtained from seafood, however, one of the best, and most inexpensive, sources of this valuable nutrient, is from Vitamin D mushrooms.
Mushrooms, given an extra blast of UV light after harvesting quickly produce vitamin D. Our body needs between 5 – 15 mcg vitamin D a day which is easily achieved by eating 3 small button mushrooms.
Shiitake mushrooms have been used medicinally in Asian cultures for hundreds of years, but Western scientists can now confirm that regular consumption of shiitake mushrooms also enhances the immune system and reduces inflammation.
Crazy for kimchi
Kimchi is a traditional Korean food made by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria. This vegetable probiotic food has the similar gut and immune health benefits as yoghurt plus additional health benefits from the many nutrients found in cabbage, garlic, ginger and ingredients used in it. It’s easy and inexpensive to make, keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator and, the added bonus, and is delicious served as a healthy accompaniment to most savoury dishes.