Read on to find out how you can help boost your immune system this winter.
Not only will you be providing your body with an abundance of different nutrients, eating produce that’s in season is often a more affordable option. You won’t unnecessarily be paying top dollar for fruits and veg that need to be shipped from different climates overseas.
Kiwi fruit, mandarin, pear, oranges, beetroot, cauliflower, kale, silverbeet, pumpkin and turnips are just some of the fruits and veggies that will be coming into season from June.
Consuming a variety of different fresh foods is the easiest way to flood your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. Be sure to include as many differently coloured fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, as each colour represents a different nutrient. For example, lycopene is found in red fruits and vegetables (e.g. tomato, watermelon, grapefruit) and beta-carotene in orange produce (e.g. carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato).
Added sugars and white carbohydrates are devoid of any nutritional value. A general guideline is to avoid anything in a packet with any ingredients you cannot pronounce or sound like they belong in a year 12 chemistry class. Limit these where possible.
Yes, classic I know! Vitamin C acts as a potent antioxidant within the body helping to fight against free radicals. The recommended daily intake for Australian adults is 45mg per day, which is actually kind of difficult to miss (unless you don’t consume any fruit or veg at all). For example, one medium kiwi fruit provides approximately 64mg vitamin C and ½ a cup of broccoli will give you 40mg.
Basically, research is a bit conflicting regarding whether vitamin C supplementation helps to prevent or treat a cold/flu. For every study showing a benefit, there is another showing no significant improvement in symptoms or severity when supplementing with vitamin C.
My advice – aim for 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables every single day to provide your body with adequate vitamin C (as well as other nutrients you won’t be getting in a vitamin C supplement).
This mineral plays an important role in the development and function of white blood cells that help to fight infection in the body. Richest sources include red meat, poultry, seafood and smaller amounts in nuts and seeds. The recommended daily intake for Australian adult men and women is 8 and 14mg respectively. 100g lean red meat will give you approximately 12mg of zinc whilst 30g pumpkin seeds provides 3mg.
I would recommend a zinc supplement only if you are unable to meet your recommended intake for an extended period of time.
A large percentage of our immune system is located in our digestive system. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria in our gut with a number of roles extending digestion that we are only just beginning to learn about.
Try to include 1-2 servings of fermented foods every day, for example plain unsweetened natural yoghurt, raw sauerkraut (found in refrigerated section of health food store, NOT on the shelf as these varieties have no active probiotic activity) or kefir.
The active components in garlic are its sulphur compounds, allicin being the most potent. These compounds have strong antimicrobial properties which are enhanced when raw garlic is chopped or crushed.
Aim for 1-2 cloves per day, and where possible crush them, allow to stand at room temperature for 5-10 mins, then add to the end of cooking so that the heat does not deactivate the enzymes controlling the sulphur activity.