As we gear up for the cooler weather take a read of these top 10 immune boosting nutrition tips to help keep the sniffles away.
A 2009 study published in the academic journal Paediatrics showed that children who were supplemented with a probiotic had fewer respiratory tract infections and days absent from childcare than those who were given a placebo. Natural yoghurt is a wonderful source of probiotics or you could try taking a probiotic drink such as Yakult.
Did you know that 70% of our immune system can be found within our gut! Prebiotics such as resistant starch act as a fuel for healthy gut bacteria and contribute to happy functioning gut. Great sources include legumes, bananas and cooked and cooled boiled potatoes.
3. SMARTEN UP YOUR CARBS!
Cut down on the refined sources of carbs such as white bread, juice and soft drink and instead focus on low GI options, which provide a slow trickle of energy into our system. Refined carbs often cause dramatic spikes in blood sugar, which can stress the immune system.
4. COLOURFUL VEGGIES
Vegetables including broccoli, carrot, sweet potato, red capsicum and mushrooms (any veg really) are bursting vitamins and antioxidants for a robust immune system.
5. VITAMIN C
Many of us think ‘vitamin C’ when it comes to kicking the common cold and they’re right to think so as this powerful vitamin is known to help reduce the length and severity of a cold. Amazingly, just one kiwi fruit contains your daily requirements for vitamin C! Other top sources include oranges, lemon/lime (squeeze juice over salads), berries, broccoli, tomato and capsicum.
6. VITAMIN D
While the incidence of ‘the flu’ is thought to be higher during winter due to us living in closer proximity, another theory suggests a link with reduced exposure to sunlight. A 2010 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that children supplemented with vitamin D during winter were less likely to succumb to the seasonal flu than the children who were given a placebo. This winter roll up your sleeves while hanging out the laundry and try to get 2-3 hours worth of sunlight spread throughout the week to you face, arms and hands.
7. GREEN TEA
Green tea, as with black and white tea, contains many powerful antioxidants. Findings from a study published in Immunology Letters shows how green tea can increase the number of regulatory T cells and in turn improve immune function.
8. AVOCADO, NUTS & SEEDS
Not only are these foods an excellent source of healthy fats which contain natural anti-inflammatory properties, they also provide a superior source of vitamin E which is essential to a healthy immune system.
9. LEAN RED MEAT
Adequate protein is needed to support strong immune defences and lean red meat is an easy way to boost your intake. By eating meat you’ll also receive a big hit of zinc, which is needed to help infection-fighting white blood cells develop and function well.
Being dehydrated can actually make your symptoms worse and can contribute to feelings of fatigue. By keeping a well-hydrated system your digestive system will also function better and you body will be better able to flush toxins from its system. Aim for around 2000ml per day or at least 35ml/kg.