Feel a cold coming on? Getting run down? Can’t shake your cough? Don’t sweat it – these immune boosting foods are star defence players in your diet.
Not only does garlic score big for its antibacterial and antiviral traits, it also hosts a naturally-occurring chemical called allicin which is capable of killing off harmful bacteria and viruses once digested. The catch: Garlic must be consumed fresh (and crushed or chopped) to have this potent activity. Try adding a couple of cloves of garlic to your evening meal. Juts keep the mints handy.
For centuries, people have turned to citrus for a healthy immune system thanks to their hefty doses of vitamin C – a powerful antioxidant that can neutralise invading germs. While the jury is still out on whether mega dosing on C supplements can prevent the common cold, it can however lessen the associated symptoms. Best to ensure an optimal intake of vitamin C through diet. Think beyond your morning glass of OJ and include dark leafy greens, kiwi, papaya, blueberries and strawberries, tomatoes, lemons, limes and red capsicum.
Here’s an interesting fact: roughly 75 to 80 percent of bacteria lies in your gut, hence why it’s important to maintain a good balance of healthy bacteria that live within us. Probiotics, such as acidophilus, are live microorganisms (good bacteria) which aid digestive balance and prevent overgrowth of bad bacteria. Include probiotic-rich foods – even more so after you have been prescribed antibiotics. Your best bet is natural yoghurt (sweetened with fruit), kefir, kombucha tea, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented vegetables.
A stewing pot of chicken broth (made from chicken bones) releases an array of immune-boosting goodness, such as B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc and certain hydrating electrolytes. When consumed hot, it also helps flush out the bad bugs (by getting the mucus moving out of your system) so don’t you feel so clogged up. Scientists don’t know the exact reason why, but speculate it’s a combination of vegetables and chicken that work together.
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water as the weather cools, but being optimally hydrated is a must to ensure a strong immune defense. Water will help flush out foreign invaders, such as bacteria and aid the production of lymph, which circulates white blood cells involved in protecting the body against infections. Normally, eight glasses of fluid a day is recommended for good health. When you’re sick, try to get double that.