Food plays an important role in strengthening our immune systems and there are a few particular nutrients that you cannot go without this winter.
The one we all know is vitamin C…
However, did you know that it is scientifically proven that vitamin C will not cure you from a cold BUT it will shorten the time that you have the cold? You will need a 1000mg of vitamin C to have the desired effect. This can be consumed in the form of a tablet or even better, through your daily fruit and veg intake.
*Foods high in vitamin C include: Guava (188mg), Red sweet peppers (142mg), Kiwi fruit (70mg), Orange (70mg), Green pepper (60mg), Grapefruit juice (60mg) and strawberries (50mg).
Other foods with vitamin C include Brussel sprouts, papaya, broccoli, sweet potato, tomato juice, pineapple and mango’s.
*in ½ cup portions
More vitamins to boost your immune system are vitamin A and E.
These vitamins are fat soluble which means that your body will be able to store them. If you consume enough of these vitamins throughout the winter, your immune system will have more than enough power to fight infections.
**Food items with a high vitamin A content: Carrot juice, raw carrots, spinach, kale, apricots, papaya, mango, peas, tomato juice, peaches and peppers
**Food items with a high vitamin E content: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, turnips, tomato paste, pine nuts, peanutbutter, canola oil, avo’s and olive oil.
Minerals that have a great impact on your immune system include Zinc and selenium.
Zinc is not only important for immunity, but also for wound healing, for maintaining the sense of taste and smell and stimulates the activity of nearly 100 enzymes in our body. Most of our breakfast cereals are fortified with zinc but in which food items can we find this mineral?
**Definitely in beef shank, chuck and loin, pork, chicken leg, yoghurt, baked beans, cashews, pecans, chickpeas and cheese.
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant and protects your body cells against free radical damage. Some research also suggests the protective effect of selenium against cancers and heart disease. **Selenium is found in: Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, cod, turkey, chicken breast, enriched pasta, eggs, cottage cheese, rice and bread.
**listed from highest to lowest content
Be sure to eat enough vitamin A, C, E, Selenium and Zinc this winter to boost your immune system!