It’s that time of year again when coughs, colds and sniffles start doing the rounds. As 80% of your immune system is located in the gut and intestinal tract, adding a couple of these super-foods to a balanced diet is a great way to increase your immunity this winter.
1) Yoghurt. Probiotics found in yoghurts are healthy bacteria that balance out harmful bacteria in the gut. Protecting the intestinal tract from disease-causing germs, the live and active cultures stimulate the immune system, improving your resilience to infection. Great as a mid-morning snack or instead of milk on your cereal, choose a plain, unsweetened yoghurt and add a handful of nuts or berries.
2) Garlic. The active ingredient allicin in garlic protects against bacterial and viral infections. Increasing the rate at which infection-fighting white blood cells are produced, along with natural antiviral and antibacterial properties it can reduce the length and severity of the illness. The bad news is, to work best it needs to be eaten raw – swallow slices without chewing to avoid garlic breath!
3) Citrus fruits. Packed with vitamin C, eating citrus fruits increases the production of white blood cells, building the immune system to maintain the body’s defence against infections and reducing cold symptoms. Have half a grapefruit for breakfast, or stick with a traditional glass of fresh orange juice to kickstart your day.
4) Ginger. Balancing the immune system, ginger is antibacterial, reduces fevers, improves circulation to clear toxins and viruses faster, helps prevent nausea and decreases inflammation, soothing sore throats. Throw a piece into a mid-afternoon smoothie for a healthy boost – ask Mike for his secret recipe!
5) Green tea. Powerful anti-oxidants in green tea are well known for their health benefits, one of which is protecting the immune system. L-Theanine is the magic ingredient for strengthening immunity, building up the body’s defences and fighting off infection. There are so many benefits to drinking green tea – swap it for one of your cups of coffee for a mid-morning boost!
Regular exercise, enjoying a healthy balanced diet and limiting alcohol intake are all crucial to staying fighting fit, but why not add a couple of our super-food immunity boosters to your diet during cold and flu season for your best chance of staying sniffle-free!