14 May 7 foods to boost your immunity against cold and flu
It is common during the change of the seasons, and particularly at the start of winter, to get sick with a cold or flu. How can you prepare your body for winter, so that it is strong and healthy, protecting you from those nasty colds and flu?
1. Yoghurt and probiotics
The good bacteria in yoghurt or probiotics (try coconut yoghurt for a particularly delicious dairy-free treat), helps to strengthen your immune system by increasing your natural defence against cold and flu pathogens. Furthermore, if you eat yoghurt when you have a cold, there is evidence that it will reduce the length and severity of your cold symptoms. It does this by reducing your body’s inflammatory response to nasty pathogens.
Allicin, the primary active component in garlic has significant antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. If you regularly eat garlic (particularly raw garlic – in a pesto for example), you will have less severe colds during winter. Garlic also helps to promote gut flora, which helps the body to eliminate toxins, viruses and bacteria.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, found abundantly in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes (all in season during winter), increases your immunity to colds and flu, by maintaining your body’s defence systems. Try drinking a cup of warm water with the juice of half a lemon every morning on awakening, to strengthen your defence against pathogens, or blend up a winter green smoothie regularly with oranges and kiwi to get a great hit of vitamin C.
Zinc is found in meat products and dairy, eggs, legumes, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. It is a very important mineral which helps to heal wounds and boost your immunity to invading pathogens leading to colds or flu. The protein found in these foods also helps your body to repair and recover from a cold or flu.
The active ingredient in Turmeric is curcumin. It is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and detoxifying nutrient. It helps to rid your body of toxins and studies have shown that people who regularly eat turmeric are less prone to getting colds and flu. There is a good reason why you might crave an Indian curry when you get a cold, because the turmeric in the curry can help your immune system to fight pathogens responsible for colds and flu.
6. Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been shown to reduce people’s susceptibility to cold and flu, and your stores are reduced as winter comes and there is not enough sunlight. Another source of vitamin D is wild salmon, which can help to increase your stores, which will boost your immunity and make you less susceptible to winter colds and flu.
7. Vitamin A
Found in abundance in carrots and sweet potato, vitamin A is a powerful micro nutrient in the maintenance of your mucosal surfaces, including the inside of your nose, your gastrointestinal tract and your skin. These surfaces help to stop infections from entering your body, which is your first line of defence in cold season.
When a cold or flu hits
If you do end up getting a cold or flu, one of the nicest ways to alleviate some of your symptoms and reduce the time that you are sick is a lovely hot drink of lemon, honey, grated ginger, and if you like a little rum. It is called a hot tottie, and helps to clear phlegm and mucous from your respiratory tract, gives you a great dose of vitamin C from the lemon and the honey will soothe your throat.