Winter is a time when many people struggle with their immune systems. Sick kids, people coughing in your office and crowded public transport are all perfect for passing on dreaded colds and flu and can be hard to escape!
Boosting your immune system with food is a great way to keep healthy in winter, many foods have immune stimulating effects and it is easy to include them into your diet on a daily basis. Additionally, by eating organic and seasonally you can be assured that your diet will be super rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
My top immune foods are: garlic, onion, leek, shitake mushrooms, tumeric, parsley and fresh beetroot.
When I go through these foods with clients in clinic, nearly all of them say “yeah, I eat those foods all the time”. The trick is to use therapeutic doses.. instead of adding a clove of garlic and an onion to your soup or bolognaise sauce, add 4-5 cloves of garlic, an onion and a leek, chop up 1/2 a bunch of parsley and grate in some shitake mushrooms. In this way you are getting LOADS of the ultimate immune boosting, antibiotic, antibacterial, anti fungal and anti-viral foods in your system. These foods also help to break down mucus and keep the mucus secretions thin and easier to expel from your body (read – less bacterial infections)
Other top immune boosting foods to add to your diet include:
Mushrooms – Some recent studies have also found that they may make white blood cells act more aggressively against foreign bacteria. The very best kinds of mushrooms are shiitake and maitake.
Garlic – antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal and increases immune function. It’s also a good source of selenium, an important trace element, and sulfur, which is important for healthy liver function.
Onions and Leeks – also a good source of sulfur and contain the same properties as garlic.
Cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, are good sources of beta-carotene and help protect against free-radical damage. They also contain vitamin C and calcium.
Spinach and other leafy greens – contain beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium.
Orange vegetables – sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and squash are a good source of vitamin A.
Kiwi fruit, blueberries and oranges – good sources of vitamin C. To increase the amount of vitamin C from your oranges, thinly peel the skin off with a knife, leaving the white bioflavonoid rich inner peel.
Chinese cabbage – is a good source of vitamin A.
Avocados – are rich in vitamin A and potassium and also contain folic acid and magnesium.
Ginger – helps the body fight off infection and has traditionally been used in treating colds and flu.
Turmeric – enhances the immune system and has a detoxifying effect.
Horseradish contains oils that have demonstrated antibiotic properties and has been effective against infections.
If you or your family are suffering from poor immunity, call Belinda on 0400 55 622 to make a booking in Double Bay, Balmain or via Skype.