Best immune-boosting foods in preparation for summer
The Beast from the East has passed and spring is officially here (according to the meteorological terms). But it will still be a little while until the warm weather returns. To help you stay on top of your game and avoid catching any of the illnesses that are lingering on from our coldest months, here is our list of the best immune-boosting foods in preparation for summer time.
The vibrant foods
Citrus fruits are well known for being full of Vitamin C, which helps to reduce the risk of infection. Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits – take your pick and bring a little ray of sunshine and colour into your day. Try mixing things up and adding some orange segments to a spring salad or take a break from drinking coffee and have some lemon juice in warm water for a morning cleanse.
Eat your greens
Did you mum always tell you to do this? Well, it turns out that mums are always right! As annoying as that can be sometimes… Vegetables make up some of the best immune-boosting foods you can have. For an easy fix of greens, try purple sprouting broccoli. It’s in season right now and contains more antioxidants than regular types of broccoli, as well as more vitamin C than most citrus fruits. It’s also good for your skin, which helps keep you healthy and tan-ready before the sun comes out.
Watercress is another green veggie that has plenty of immune-boosting properties. Add it to a tasty spring salad and it can act as a natural antibiotic for fighting colds and flu throughout the spring.
The “not before a first date” foods
So perhaps not to be eaten if you’re just about to meet the person of your dreams, but onions and garlic are great for your immune system and also for your heart. As well as keeping vampires away (or dodgy dates), they have a strong antibacterial action in the body and are great for preventing colds and flu. So if it’s unwanted affection, or a clingy cold you want to get rid of, onions and garlic have got your back. Though not strictly a ‘food’, most health stores sell odorless garlic capsules that allow you to get all the benefits for your immune system without compromising your breath.
A little sign of spring
Even if it doesn’t feel like spring is here just yet – with the lighter mornings and a whole array of delicious spring foods just around the corner – we can at least start to pretend that it is by indulging in the best immune-boosting foods of the season.
Take advantage of the vibrant radishes that come into season around April time in the UK; they’re more likely to taste their best at this time of year. They’re great for a vitamin C boost (hint: the leaves contain more than the root) and also for cleansing the liver. To get the most out of them, eat them raw or try juicing them with apple or carrot. Alternatively, for a warming (and pretty!) side dish with a twist, roast them for 20 minutes in the oven with some olive oil.
And if all else fails?
What if the worst happens and the lurgy does catch up with you? Then don’t worry, there are many foods you can use to get you through it and boost your recovery. Anti-inflammatory ginger will help to ease cold and flu symptoms. Add peeled fresh ginger to hot water, along with some honey to make a delicious drink. Alternatively, spices have lots of healing properties: cardamom is good for clearing chest congestion and cinnamon helps fight viruses. Thankfully, there is always a plan B.
So stay warm while topping up on some vibrant spring foods to keep the germs away. And if that shifty date still doesn’t get the message? Ginger and spices may not help with that one, but no doubt your mum will know what to do.
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