What you put into your body truly does have an effect on your outward appearance, if you put good stuff in you will get stuff out. I have already covered some of the benefits that some foods can have on your hair and nails and I have witnessed some of these benefits in my appearance: clearer skin, nourished hair and strong nails.
Now that we have acknowledged that eating well can benefit the outside, did you know that it can also work wonders for the inside of your body too? In fact, some foods have been shown to increase your immunity and help ward off disease, especially cold and flu. Even though autumn and winter have almost passed and hopefully sunshine is just around the corner (fingers crossed!) there are still germs and bugs floating in the air. I’ve done some reading and have discovered some wonderful nourishing foods that can help to boost your immunity.
These nutty delights are not only great for snacking, but they are bursting with vitamin E, which is a great antioxidant for keeping your immune system in check. Having a handful as a snack along with some fruit is a great way to get your vitamin E fix, plus all of those healthy fats.
You may not like to eat it, but cabbage is a fantastic source of glutamine which helps to strengthen the immune system. Add it to stews, casseroles or stir-fries to make your meals more nutritionally dense and reap those immune boosting benefits.
Probiotics found in yoghurt have been the talk of the town in recent years. These live active cultures replace all the bad bacteria with good bacteria in your digestive system. Not only a good source of dairy protein, yoghurt is also a great source of vitamin E, so go and load up your spoons!
When the sun is shining there is nothing better than munching on some refreshing watermelon. In fact, your immune system, as well as your taste buds, will appreciate this as it contains glutathione, an antioxidant found in the flesh of the watermelon. Eat up those watermelons for some infection fighting goodness!
Sweet potatoes and other orange vegetables such as carrots and squash are rich in anti-oxidant beta-carotene. Did your mum ever tell you to eat up your carrots as they help you to see in the dark? Well, that may have been a little white lie, but the beta-carotene in them is highly beneficial, required to help keep your skin strong and viruses at bay.
I’m loving the fact that in the summer we enter strawberry season here in the UK and they are full of immune boosting goodness due to their vitamin C content. As with oranges, other citrus fruits and strawberries the vitamin C inside them helps to fight off cold and flu viruses, dampening down their effects on the body.
OK, so don’t go chomping on bulbs of the stuff, unless you are on a vampire slaying spree. Despite the resultant breath issue after eating too much garlic, it contains an active ingredient called allicin. The anti-fungal properties of allicin mean that it can fight off bacteria and other nasties which may try to harm your immune system.
Yes I know, turmeric is a spice, not a food, but technically you add it to food so I’m sticking with it. Curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric has antiviral and antibacterial properties to help boost your immune system. A curry for dinner it is then!
Oysters, lobsters and crabs contain high levels of selenium, known for facilitating white blood cells to produce cytokines which fight off colds and flu viruses. Oily fish like salmon is plentiful in omega-3, which causes a decrease in inflammation and an increase in respiratory flow – protecting the lungs from infection.
Often sold as a superfood these little berries are full to the brim with antioxidants. Not typically linked to any particular disease, the high concentration of antioxidants in acai berries mean that they are useful in boosting your immune system.
There are so many foods not even mentioned here that can enhance your immunity due to the some of the active compounds that they contain, which are discussed in more detail here. Talking of boosting your immunity, Alive! Soft Jells are a brand new range of Multi-Vitamins and Minerals from Nature’s Way. They contain a unique dried blend of 26 fruits and vegetables, made with delicious berry natural fruit flavour and also suitable for vegetarians. The range comes in 5 variants for the whole family: Women’s Energy, Women’s 50+, Men’s Energy, Children’s and Immune Support, which can also be taken to supplement your diet.
I think the general rule is that anything packed with vitamin C or antioxidants are generally good for your immune system, obviously, there are more specific compounds too, but these seem to be the main culprits. I hope you found this guide helpful in some way and hopefully eating some of these foods will facilitate some immune boosting magic to fight off nasty infections.
Do you believe that ‘you are what you eat?‘ Has eating any of these foods in the past made a difference to your immunity?
*Sponsored by Alive! but all opinions are my own