As we head into Autumn, it won’t be long before the colder, darker nights start to draw in. At this time of year it’s especially important to keep our immune systems healthy and to look after our bodies.
Nutrition is a big part of that and a superfood that is nutritionally dense can play a key role in keeping our immune system in tip top shape. What makes a superfood super? The term superfood is used to describe a food that offers us real health benefits and are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Our immune systems are very complex, so there is no single food group that we can eat that will magically effect our immune cells and system. All these superfoods work their best when part of a varied, balanced and healthy diet, where they can all work together so our immune system has enough nutrients to be effective and do their job as best they can when fighting off winter colds and viruses.
Citrus Fruits: Lemons, Limes & Oranges
Citrus fruits are an amazing food. They are inexpensive, easily and readily available, while being packed with Vitamin C and other anti-inflammatory nutrients. It’s not just for the refreshing taste that many of us choose to start the day with a glass of fresh orange juice, Vitamin C is a great way to strengthen our immunity against viruses and pathogens.
Garlic has been praised for its health benefits for a very long time, dating back hundreds of years in text books! It’s said to have great anti-inflammatory effects and is an anti-viral and antioxidant. Garlic is rich in vitamin B6 and a good source of manganese, selenium and vitamin C, as well as other important minerals such as calcium, potassium, iron and copper.
Ginger root has commonly been used to boost the immune system, help stop inflammation and treat common colds and flu. This superfood is a strong antioxidant as well as antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antibiotic properties.
Ginger is also a very versatile ingredient that can be used in teas, cakes, bread and biscuits – as well as a spicy addition to many savory dishes. It’s never difficult to add some of this amazing food to your diet and it can help keep your immune system strong and functioning at its very best.
Bell peppers are excellent sources of vitamins C and are a great superfood for giving your immune system a boost and helping it perform its essential functions. They also contain vitamin B6 and folic acid which are great for reducing stroke and heart attack risks. They can be chopped up and used in salads, added to pizzas or cooked into many winter dishes. The antioxidants in peppers can neutralize free radicals which can help alleviate many symptoms of asthma and arthritis too.
Last but not in any way least (and maybe unsurprisingly!) on our superfoods list is honey.
Honey is full of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and antioxidants. It also has antimicrobial properties which can reduce inflammation. Daily consumption of honey can really help strengthen our immune system. Its antioxidant, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties can help fight infections from viruses and bacteria.
We encourage everyone to get creative with these ingredients and use them as part of a well-rounded balanced diet where they can do their job of helping our immune system function at its very best. If you are feeling run down or a little under the weather, give them a try in combination with other foods, or as a warm honey drink!
For more diet related question consult our Nutritionist.