Every year in the UK, each adult will get between 2 and 4 colds. Although getting enough sleep and exercising can all help combat the common cold, it’s important to be eating the right foods, high in certain nutrients to help your immune system fight against the virus. Immunise yourself with our Top 5 Foods to Fight Cold & Flu this Winter!
1.Red bell peppers
Like citrus fruits, red peppers are high in vitamin C. In fact, one red pepper has 150 milligrams of vitamin C – that’s twice your recommended daily allowance. According to Health.com, studies suggest that you need to consume much more than twice your daily allowance to fight a cold. If you’re sick, apparently eating between 400 to 500 milligrams of vitamin C throughout the day should swiftly help you get back on the road to recovery.
Probiotics, which you’ll find in yogurt and kefir are a cold sufferer’s best friend because they reduce the body’s inflammatory response. Details of a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the beneficial bacteria shortened the duration of a cold by two days and made symptoms 34% less severe.
3. Nuts and seeds
Brazil nuts are number one for selenium-rich properties. With the average brazil nut containing about 70 micrograms of selenium, this mineral increases its production of cytokines, helping oust the flu virus from your system. Whilst sunflower seeds are among the best natural sources of vitamin E; an antioxidant that protects cell walls from damage and a single one-ounce serving contains 30% of your recommended daily intake. Vitamin E is important for the health of your lungs and particularly contributes to producing less phlegm during winter.
4. Lean meat
Many associate eating lean meats with building muscle, but they also build antibodies and fight infection within the body. Some studies indicate that, for a quick boost, beef is a good source of zinc, and zinc is important in the development of white blood cells that defend your body. However, the redder meats may also cause your nervous system to become sluggish. Alternatively, choose meatless protein sources such as beans, nuts and dairy, as well as seafood. Aim to fill one-quarter of your plate with a quality protein source at each meal.
5. Orange vegetables
You may not think of your skin as part of your immune system, but this crucial and largest of your organs, covering an impressive 16 square feet, serves as a fortress against bacteria, viruses and other circumambient invaders. To stay strong and healthy, your skin needs vitamin A. Orange vegetables, like carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash are rich in beta-carotene. When you eat these foods, your body converts this organic compound into vitamin A. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, has several benefits. The NHS explains that it helps your body’s natural defence system against illness and infection, keeping the mucous membrane that lines your nose and throat – one of your body’s first lines of defence, healthy and functioning. It has been suggested that catching a sore throat at the onset of any symptoms with honey, lemon, fresh fruits/juices and or a local anaesthetic throat spray can arrest the spread of a cold through to your ears and nose saving you time, energy, frustration and money! Check with your doctor for advice.
With winter well underway, it’s time to start looking after yourself a little more! Avoiding germs is one thing, but eating the right foods can go a long way in helping boost your immune system, besides who wants to be laid up in bed when there are snowmen to make, anyway? What are your cold and flu remedies that really work? Let us know below or @KeepfitKingdom !