As we head into winter, we start thinking about the festive season, lazy evenings in front of the fireplace, and wrapping up warmly for outdoor activities. Some of us may worry about getting sick with a cold or even worse, the flu, and although supplements can help boost the immune system, we often forget that immune boosting foods can be found in our garden or any local supermarket.
It’s easy to boost our immune systems with simple tricks like keeping our temperatures constant and enjoying superfoods packed with vitamins and minerals. Find our three tips below to boost your immune system this winter.
Increase your Superfood Intake
Bring some color to your plate by combining colorful fruits and veggies at every meal. We all know how important vitamin C is to our diets and it’s often said that citrus food contains the most vitamin C, but many of us forget about the humble red bell pepper. These peppers contain almost three times as much vitamin C per ounce if compared to oranges and have the added benefit of healthy and glowing skin. Other foods that are high in vitamin C include broccoli and spinach and, when adding bell peppers, make a delicious stir fry. Fruit salads also make a great alternative to dessert after a big meal. Try adding strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, papaya, mango and kiwi to create a super vitamin C boost to your diet.
Shorter days mean less sunlight and less vitamin D to support our calcium absorption and balance phosphorus in the body. Vitamin D can be found in all sorts of foods like oily fish, think salmon and canned tuna, as well as cow’s milk, oatmeal, and even mushrooms. Our bones need calcium to become strong during childhood and avoid injuries caused by brittle bones as we get older. Consider adding fish to your meal at least twice a week and you may soon see a glowing skin which your bones will thank you for.
By increasing our superfood intake, we can give our bodies everything it needs to fight common colds, but what do we eat to ensure the immune cells function properly? That’s where the underrated mineral called zinc comes in. Zinc can be found in crab, lobsters, and oysters that are great if you’re planning a date night during the colder months. If shellfish isn’t your thing, try adding seeds and nuts to your oats in the morning and include whole grains to your starches.
There’s nothing quite as soothing as enjoying a broth when curled up on the couch or in front of the fireplace and it’s so simple to make. Broths can be made with or without bones to suit all types of diets, whether you like meat or prefer a vegan option. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a bunch of superfoods packed with vitamins and minerals, and the best part is that you can divide the broth into containers and freeze it for when you feel like a comforting bowl on another day.
To make a vegan broth, simply add vegetables to a pot and allow it to sweat for a couple of minutes. Be sure not to include starchy vegetables or those that go soft when boiling like potatoes, cauliflower, or squash. Instead, think about adding leeks, leafy greens and onions, and don’t forget about your superfood additions like miso paste, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Once the vegetables had a bit of time to sweat, season and top up with boiling water before letting the pot simmer for about an hour. Strain your broth and enjoy.
Bone broths are just as easy to make, although it takes a couple of hours, and include the added benefit of collagen extracted from the bones as they boil. The strained liquid also makes it super easy for the body to absorb making it great for anyone with digestive issues. To make a bone broth, simply use bones from leftover roasts or head to the butcher and get bones especially for broths. Add them to a pot and season with your choice of spices before topping up with water. We recommend adding apple cider vinegar or some lemon juice. This will allow the collagen to break down and add loads of flavor. Bring the pot to a gentle simmer and leave to boil for just over 10 hours. Strain the liquid and enjoy immediately or freeze in containers for later.
It’s important to remain active during the winter months, summer bodies are made in winter after all. Although you might not feel like covering up after a power cardio session, your body will thank you for keeping your temperature constant. Sharp temperature fluctuations might cause a shock to your body resulting in muscles tensing up and your immune system taking a dip.
Our next tip to keep yourself protected is to wash your hands regularly when visiting areas like shopping malls, going into the office or enjoying a meal at a restaurant. We’ve learned during the recent global pandemic that it’s crucial to keep your hands sanitized and avoid touching your face when in high human traffic areas. By following these basic steps, the global flu count has decreased rapidly in 2020 with fewer people exposed to the flu and common cold.
Keep Track of your Nutrients with Recipe IQ
We use Recipe IQ to stay on track and calculate our daily intake of nutrients throughout the year. Track recipes like the broths we mentioned above by adding the ingredients or create your own recipes and save them with their nutritional values to the app. Another great feature is the Reverse Nutrition search. Find out how you can exclude certain nutrients from your recipes. Want to remove sodium or figure out where the unsaturated fat is coming from? Add it to the app to find out. The best part is you can now plan your week by combining recipes to see if you need to increase or reduce your nutrient intake.
Recipe IQ is available on the App Store and Google Play. Find out more about this useful app here.