It’s That Time of Year: 9 Foods to Supercharge Your Immune System

Oh winter, while we love nights spent cosying up by the fire, meeting with friends for festive drinks, and the excuse to indulge in chocolate and mince pies on a daily basis, what we don’t appreciate is the slew of sicknesses that you bring with you.

It seems like everyone on bus, in the office, and at the gym gas the sniffles. But if you do not have the time to get run down at the busiest time of year then perhaps you better start taking some protective steps, and the best way to start is with your diet.

Happyskinkitchen

Speaking on SheerLuxe, Nutritional Therapist Jodie Brandman talked through the nine foods that will supercharge your defences.

Cacao

Okay don’t get too excited, Jodie is not recommending you crack open the Cadbury’s selection box but instead opt for cacao powder or dark chocolate, which contain powerful antioxidants flavonoids and mood boosting. Bring on the hot chocolate, but only nutritious ones mind you. Jodie recommends making a health brew by “warming your milk of choice – try hazelnut milk for extra creaminess – with cacao powder, plus some cinnamon and stevia for sweetness.”

Berries

Another antioxidant hero are berries. Packed with vitamin C, Jodie says they also contain gallic acid; a natural antifungal and antiviral agent. “The proanthocyanidins in blueberries have been found to reduce inflammation and studies have shown the fruit has brain-boosting and digestion enhancing properties too.”
Matcha Latte

Green Tea

Green tea has long been heralded for its health benefits, from weight loss to improvement in heart health. Jodie says they also a powerful immune boosting qualities, “science has shown green tea is capable of increasing the regulatory T cells too – which control the immune response to foreign particle.” Make your next coffee shop order a matcha latte.

Camu Camu

It’s little known in these parts of the word but camu cami, a South American fruit, is one of the most vitamin C-rich plants on the planet, containing minerals, phytochemicals and amino acids to help the body detoxify and heal. Jodie suggests sourcing camu camu comes in powder form and adding it to your post workout smoothie.

Chaga

The power of medicinal mushrooms has long been recognised but recently they have come into the spotlight. Chaga is king among them. Known to help balance the immune response, Jodie says “the best way to draw out chaga mushrooms’ nutrients is by brewing them, so mix a chaga powder with hot water (but not boiling) and brew for a few minutes before straining.”

Echinacea

A herb native to North America, Echinacea has been used treat a variety of ailments; from respiratory infections to inflammation, skin disorders to mood issues, for hundreds of years. Jodie advises skipping bulky pills and opt for a tincture instead – simply add a few drops to a glass of water or fruit juice.

Garlic

You might use it in your spag bol every week but you might be less aware that garlic is an incredibly powerful immmune system booster, thanks to an active component present in the bulb called allicin, which converts to sulpur-containing compounds shown to boost white blood cells in the body. Jodie’s tip is to crush garlic and let it stand for ten minutes before cooking, which is said to strengthen its medicinal effects.

Coconut Oil

It seems every one is raving about wonder ingredient coconut oil, and according to Jodie they are onto something. You might already be using it as a homemade hair mask, but you can also but it to action to fight infection by adding to smoothies, soups and stews, or cooking your eggs and veggies in it.

Probiotics & Fermented Foods

With arounf 70% of your immune system is located in the gut, Jodie can’t enthuse enough how crucial it is to replenish your digestive system with probiotics and fermented foods to ward off the flu. Pop probiotics in pill form and eat your fill of fermented foods like yogurt, pickled vegetables and sauerkraut.