Many of us will reach for an orange at the first sign of a cold, as we know they are rich in vitamin C which will help build up the immune system. However the fruits are not the only food rich in vitamin C, and vitamin C is not the only vitamin with immune boosting properties. Try including the following foods in your diet to help keep your immune system strong and healthy:
Not only good at adding flavour to your food, garlic is also great for your health. The vegetable contains a compound called allicin which has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, helping to build immunity against common colds as well as heart-related illnesses.
Red bell peppers
Although we usually turn to oranges for our dose of vitamin C, these peppers actually contain almost three times as much of the vitamin than that of a Florida orange. Due to their beta-carotene contents – which convert into vitamin A – red bell peppers are also beneficial for maintaining healthy eyes and skin.
Considered one of the healthiest spices on the planet, ginger packs a punch in both terms of taste and health benefits. It contains natural oil called gingerol which is responsible for many of its benefits, as it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant – helping to fight off free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
These little green trees a packed full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and E, as well as fibre. In order to benefit from all these nutrients, it’s best to cook the vegetable for a little as possible – or not at all. It has been found that steaming is the best way to keep its nutritional value.
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which is just as important for the immune system as vitamin C. Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, which means it required the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Luckily, almonds contain healthy fats as well as the vitamin. Just half a cup of almonds can provide 100% of the recommend daily amount of vitamin E.
These leafy greens are another vegetable that is full of vitamin C – as well as numerous antioxidants and beta-carotene, which could boost the immune system. Spinach retains more of its nutrients when cooked for as little as possible, however lightly cooking it can make it easier to absorb the vitamin A.
Including these foods into a balanced diet is a great way to help your immune system, however variety is key. Eating just one of these foods – even when eaten regularly – will not be beneficial in fighting off infections if you are not getting enough of other vitamins.