“Vitamin C can also help reduce fatigue and combat hangovers by helping neutralise free radicals, supporting the liver and helping produce energy.”
hether you’re recovering from an illness, trying to avoid a bug that’s doing the rounds or need a pick-me-up after a heavy night, there’s quite a bit you can do with your diet to put things right. Personal trainer and nutrition coach Devinder Bains gives you five foods that will help get your immune system firing on all cylinders…
1.Red bell peppers
Vitamin C is well-known for its ability to build up your immune system after an illness, it’s thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are essential in fighting infections. It’s common to associate vitamin C with eating more citrus fruits such as oranges, however, red bell peppers contain twice the amount of vitamin C. Add red bell peppers to salads, omelettes, pastas and more on the daily, as your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C – so you need to make sure you’re getting it every day. Bell peppers are also a rich source of beta carotene which helps keep your eyes and skin healthy – vitamin C can also help reduce fatigue and combat hangovers by helping neutralise free radicals, supporting the liver and helping produce energy. It also helps recover your skin’s glow.
Although we’re well-versed in the benefits of vitamin C, few people know that vitamin E is equally important when it comes to boosting the immune system – it not only supports immune function, it’s needed for preventing inflammation, promoting eye health and can even lower the risk of cancer. As vitamin E is fat-soluble, it needs fat for it to be absorbed efficiently – that’s where the mighty almond comes in! Rich in healthy fats and loaded with vitamin E. The richness in polyunsaturated fatty acids teamed with calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc can also help ease menopause symptoms and effects.
- Acai berries
Who doesn’t love a delicious Acai bowl breakfast? And knowing that you’re pumping your body with immune boosting antioxidants is the perfect bonus. These antioxidants that also lower inflammation in the body, work by mopping up free radicals that can cause illness and ageing through cell damage. Researchers are studying Acai as a potential treatment for increasing prostate specific antigen (PSA), lowering rectum cancer and also reducing constipation. Hydrating acai bowls with all their fruit and nut ingredients are so rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – that they also make a great breakfast antidote to the toxic effects of alcohol.
- Dark choc
This is one we like the sound of, it’s a tasty treat and it could help drive away that flu at the same time. Various studies have shown the benefits of eating small amounts of dark chocolate, including lowering the risk of irregular heartbeat, the risk of diabetes and even heart disease and cancer. When it comes to the immune system, once again it’s the high level of antioxidants in dark chocolate that are at play: cleaning up cell damage and reducing inflammation. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the greater the health benefits because dark chocolate contains higher levels of flavonoids (a class of antioxidants). So enjoy a chunk of the good stuff after meals without feeling guilty.
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This edible bulb has been used for health remedies dating back to early civilisations that include the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese, and Native Americans – who all knew of its value in fighting infections. It’s thought that garlic’s high sulphur-containing compounds, such as allicin are what give it immune-boosting properties such as fighting inflammation, lowering blood pressure and slowing down the hardening of arteries. Garlic also contains cysteine, a non-essential amino acid, which neutralises acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of alcohol consumption.
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