January 25, 2019
Boosting your immune system this winter
Christmas and the festive season can take a toll on your health; with parties galore, food and drink in excess and just the general cold, wintry weather to contend with, it’s unsurprising that many people might be feeling a bit less than their best at this time of year.
Fret not though, as while winter can be hard and unforgiving at times, there’s no reason to think there aren’t a wealth of great ways to boost your immune system and make you feel healthy, even when we are tucking into that third helping of Christmas pudding!
Here are some of the best foods and beverages to bolster your immune system against the rigours of this year’s cold and flu season:
Packed full of vitamin C and other vitamins and nutrients to perk you up, citrus fruits help your body to produce more white blood cells and can therefore be a positive way to bolster your immune system.
Popular fruits include oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes and tangerines, all of which are chock full of immune-boosting goodness. If you do have the misfortune to catch a cold at this time of year, a hearty drink of warm honey and lemon can be a perfect pick-me-up.
Nuts and berries
Almonds are an underrated nut when it comes to offering a wealth of health benefits, with their immune-boosting properties a result of the high levels of vitamins C and E they contain. They are also a great source of healthy fats and fiber.
Meanwhile, dark berries like blackberries and blueberries are a great source of bioflavonoids, antioxidants that protect your cells from the damaging effect of free radicals and help to strengthen your immune response.
Ginger and broccoli
Maybe not the most appetising combination for some winter health seekers, but these two foods can offer a great boost to your immune system. Ginger has well-documented properties for being able to help to reduce inflammation, as well as decreasing nausea. As such, it can be a great addition to our diets when we are feeling under the weather.
Meanwhile, broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals, giving us everything from vitamins A, C and E, through to plenty of antioxidants and fiber. A healthy dose of broccoli this winter might therefore be just what the doctor ordered.
Packed with flavonoids and epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG – both a type of antioxidant – the health virtues of green tea are well known. They provide protection against free radicals in your body, while high levels of polyphenols also help in this effort.
Green tea is also an excellent source of the amino acid L-theanine, a compound now strongly linked with more efficient immune function due to its ability to increase the number of ‘regulatory T cells’ in the blooodstream.
Herbs and spices
A vast array of herbs and spices can offer a welcome immune-boosting addition to your diet, as well as helping to pep up the flavour and vibrancy of the dishes we add them to. Turmeric is one well-known spice with powerful immune-boosting properties.
The spice has anti-inflammatory properties and research also shows that high concentrations of curcumin, the substance which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can be a strong protector against exercise-induced muscle damage.
One last tip to achieve the best results
Boosting your immune system shouldn’t just include a focus on diet, however. Getting active can be another great way to strengthen your immune system, boost your wellbeing and, ultimately, help to keep you fit and healthy for longer.
Motivation is key though; you need to get up and get moving in order to reap the benefits and this can sometimes be challenging during the cold, dark days of winter. That said, there really is no substitute for an active lifestyle in helping to keep those winter chills at bay.
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