Nowadays we know that it’s pointless taking an antibiotic for cold & flu viruses so many people are looking for natural ways to boost their immunity through diet and natural supplements. So, with that in mind, I’ve put together my top 5 immune boosting foods & natural supplements which all have proven medicinal properties:
Garlic – the king of herbs for any kind of infection because it has proven ability to kill viruses and bacteria naturally. The active oils in garlic don’t get broken down by the body, they can only be removed through the breath. So as these oils move through the respiratory tract, they destroy bacteria and viruses along the way. Add to stir fries, pasta sauces, soups, salad dressings etc.
Brightly Coloured Fruit & Veg – One of the best ways to boost your overall health & immunity is to eat a Rainbow every day! By that I mean consuming at least 5 different coloured fruit/veg per day which will give you the optimal amount of vitamin C & other anti-oxidant vitamins to build your bodies resistance to illness. Think orange e.g. sweet potato, red e.g. tomatoes, yellow e.g. lemon, green e.g. broccoli and purple e.g. blueberries. .
Chilli Peppers – are a great source of vitamin C and are a natural decongestant that help to thin mucous which is particularly useful when you’re so bunged up that you can’t even blow your nose. Chilli can also help clear up an infection faster. Try adding fresh chilli pepper to soups, curries, stir fry’s or dips like houmous or guacamole.
Ginger – the essential oils found in ginger that give it the zingy taste and smell help lower inflammation which is particularly useful if you suffer with your sinuses (with or without a cold) as it will bring down inflammation of the mucous membranes that line the sinuses. Try adding fresh ginger to stir fry’s, soups, curries or steep in hot water for a fresh ginger tea.
A simple & delicious way to incorporate all of the above foods into your diet on a regular basis is through soups, try My ‘Immune Boosting Soup’ (pictured above) which does exactly that.
Manuka Honey – contains powerful antibacterial & anti-viral properties to protect against cold & flu. It’s also very soothing for when you already have a sore throat and/or cough. Look for a genuine Manuka Honey from New Zealand with an MGO rating of at least 100. During the winter, I recommend adding one teaspoon of manuka honey daily to either porridge or yogurt or perhaps a hot water & lemon drink.
Manuka Honey is Now Available in tablet form (handy if you don’t like the taste of honey and also a low GI option so good for those with blood sugar issues.) The tablet form contain a natural booster called Cyclopwer which increases the anti-bacterial effect by up to 50%. I used these recently when i felt a sore throat coming on and they worked a treat.
Hope my tips help you stay healthy & bug free this winter! Bring on the Spring! 🙂
Elsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist www.elsajonesnutrition.ie