In Australia, we’ve been hit with some horrible winter weather in the last few weeks. It turned cold, wet and windy really quickly, and you all know how much I hate the cold! Because I got sick when I was overseas a little while back, I’ve been trying to keep my immune system strong so I don’t get sick again.
One of the great things about eating healthily is it helps to support your immune system. That means many of the foods you may already be eating can help reduce the risk of becoming sick with a cold.
Foods to boost your immune system
If you’ve been sick and you want to give your immune system a boost, you can try adding these foods to your meals:
A strong antioxidant, ginger also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to stimulate circulation, which means more oxygen to body tissue, helping to move toxins.
Ginger can also help settle an upset stomach, so try adding it to a cup of tea and slowly sipping it. You can make your own ginger tea by simmering some ginger root in water on the stovetop. After 10-15 minutes, drain the liquid through a sieve and stir in a little honey for a touch of sweetness.
Allicin, a phytonutrient found in garlic, can help to fight bacteria and infection in your body. Garlic gives your body’s immune cells a boost, which can help to fight off common colds. Even if you’ve already been hit with a cold, garlic can help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
My Thai Beef Salad recipe has both ginger and garlic in it, so it’s a great dish to eat if you’re feeling a little run down.
This superfood from the Central Andes region of Peru has a huge range of health and nutritional benefits beyond its immune-boosting ones. While the maca plant is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as broccoli and kale, most of the magic comes from the plant's root which can be taken as a powder, liquid or tablet.
One of the my favourite ways to have it is to add maca powder to a healthy smoothie, bliss ball or oats at breakfast time or after a workout.
Citrus, such as oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, limes or lemons are high in vitamin C. Including these in your diet can help your body to defend itself against bacterial infections, so it’s helpful for fighting off viruses.
When you are stressed, the hormones released by your body can deplete stores of vitamin C. Giving your immune system a boost can help avoid catching a cold during exams, or when you have a big project at work. Whether you snack on oranges and mandarins or add some lemon juice to your smoothies, it's really easy to get more citrus (and vitamin C) into your day.
Red Capsicum (Pepper)
Most people immediately think of citrus fruits and berries when they think of vitamin C-rich foods. But did you know that red capsicum also contains high levels of vitamin C? Try adding raw red capsicum (bell pepper) to your salads, or make stuffed capsicums for a nice warm dose of nutrients! You can also chop up some capsicum and add it to a stir-fry with garlic and ginger for a real immune-boosting meal!
Support your immune system with these foods
While it can be a bit harder to avoid catching a cold during winter, you can catch those cold or flu 'bugs' at any time of year, especially if you’re feeling stressed. Try adding these foods to your meals to give your immune system a helping hand!
Is there a food or drink you always reach for when you feel run down?
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.