Coughs and colds season is just around the corner but did you know there are foods which are proven to boost your immune system?
Here’s a little run-down of immune boosting foods to incorporate into your daily diet…
Most people turn straight to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold - that’s because it helps build up your immune system. Vitamin C can help to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal!
Red bell peppers
If you’re trying to avoid the sugar in fruit, red bell peppers are an excellent alternative source of vitamin C. Stir-frying and roasting both preserve the nutrient content of red bell peppers better than steaming or boiling, according to a study on cooking methods (and we think it tastes better too!).
Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant which has been shown to enhance immune function. Fun fact - the fermentation process black tea goes through removes a lot of the EGCG whereas green tea is steamed and not fermented, so the EGCG is preserved. Not a fan of the taste of green tea? Try a mixed blend like our Teadrop Honeydew Green.
Blueberries contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system. A 2016 study noted that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defence system. Researchers found that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection, or common cold, than those who did not.
Salmon, tuna, pilchards, and other oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid.
According to a 2014 study, long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, which is a chronic autoimmune condition that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body.
When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E is sometimes overlooked - however, this powerful antioxidant is key to a healthy immune system.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with vitamin E and also have healthy fats.
Adults only need about 15mg of vitamin E each day, so a half-cup serving of almonds, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides all of the recommended daily amount you need.