Eat your way to a healthier immune system
Everyone knows that eating a balanced diet is best for overall good health, avoiding too much processed food and eating your five portions of fruit and veg a day. But which foods contain particularly high levels of vitamins and minerals that help support the immune system? Read on to find out.
Many of us reach for an orange at the first sign of a cold, with good reason too. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, a vitamin that is a powerful antioxidant and strengthens the body’s defence system by supporting the developments of white blood cells. As well as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes are also good sources of the vitamin.
Garlic has antiseptic and antifungal properties due to its contents of allicin, as well as containing nutrients such as vitamins B1, B6 and C. It has been used to centuries for its medicinal purposes, and whilst it tastes best when added to savoury dishes such as pastas and curries, it is most beneficial when eaten raw.
Surprising to most, but red bell peppers actually contain more vitamin C than oranges. They are also rich in beta carotene, vitamin K1, vitamin E and folate.
Vitamin E is not often thought of as a vitamin that supports the immune system, however it is just as important as vitamin C. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and healthy fats, which is required for vitamin E to be absorbed by the body properly.
Ginger contains natural oil called gingerol which gives it its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Many consider ginger to be the healthiest spice in the world due to these properties.
Although these foods have been shown to support the immune system, balance is key. Ensure to include a variety of foods in your diet to get the right amount of vitamins and nutrients.