Do you need to boost your immunity this Autumn?
There’s no doubt that autumn has arrived, and with it your chances of catching a cold or other infection generally rises, particularly if you are more stressed than usual or eating a poor diet.
To fight off infections, your immune system needs to be ready to spring into action when it encounters viruses or bacteria: it’s your main line of defence against these nasties.
The good news is that much of what your body needs to keep your immune system strong can be found in foods, so try following these tips for a healthy autumn.
10 TIPS THAT COULD HELP…..
1. Get as much vitamin C as possible by eating at least 3 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit per day (ideally 6 veg and 3 fruit). Foods particularly high in vitamin C include broccoli, peppers, asparagus, kiwi fruit, strawberries, oranges.
2. Zinc is critical for the work of the immune system. Try increasing the amount of egg yolks, almonds, cashews, turkey, lean red meat and oysters that you eat. They are all high in zinc.
3. Include lots of garlic, onions, ginger and turmeric in your cooking. These ingredients are all anti-bacterial and anti-viral, so help to kill off infections. Try a home-made curry once a week.
4. Keep your fluid intake up. 6-8 glasses of water each day is ideal. Mugs of herbal tea count towards this. Try lemon and ginger teabags if you have a cold, or simply add a slice of fresh ginger to hot water.
5. The anti-oxidant nutrient beta-carotene is a great immune booster. It’s found in orange and dark green coloured foods. Try eating more sweet potatoes, carrots, mango, apricots, butternut squash, spinach, broccoli and watercress.
6. Eat plenty of eggs, nuts, onions and garlic. These all contain cysteine, an amino acid that plays a key role in the immune system.
7. Have more cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, pak choi, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower. These all include lots of the infection-fighting phytonutrients which help boost your immune function. Try steaming rather than boiling the vegetables to help preserve their nutrient content.
8. Add parsley to foods, especially soups, stews and baked fish. Parsley contains a range of compounds that help to stimulate the immune system.
9. Vitamin E stimulates the production of immune cells. Get more vitamin E by eating almonds, avocados, oats, seeds and brown rice.
10. Cut back on alcohol (sorry!). Excess alcohol means depriving your body of valuable immune boosting nutrients, as they are used by your liver for detoxification instead.
Even if you just manage to adopt a few of these changes into your lifestyle it will help to keep you fit and well over the autumn and winter months to come. Let me know how you get on or if you have any other top tips that you can recommend.