It’s cold and flu season so, understandably, keeping our immune system healthy is at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Some will go to extreme lengths to boost their immunity; intravenous vitamin drips, for example, are currently popular in Hollywood. However, at Swisse Me we strongly believe your first port of call should always be the kitchen. By following some simple principles, you can boost your immune system through everyday foods; no needles necessary!
The most longstanding and widespread health myth is that consuming vitamin C can help prevent you from catching a cold. Having said this, studies using vitamin C supplementation have suggested that it could reduce the duration of one (Hemilä & Chalker 2013). This is because it’s a powerful antioxidant, mopping up harmful free radicals that would otherwise damage your cells and compromise your immune system (Padayatty et al. 2003). Excellent sources include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and berries. Our Swisse Me favourites, Boost Me Berry and Replenish Me Spirulina, are packed with these ingredients.
It’s not just vitamins, but minerals that you want to ensure you’re topped up on this winter. For example, zinc doesn’t receive much attention, but it’s vital for ensuring our immune cells function correctly (Rink 2000). Shellfish, chicken and nuts are all good sources!
Clever substituting ingredients can enhance the immune-boosting properties of everyday meals. It could be as simple as switching from using salt and table sauces for flavour, to using spices, garlic and lemon juice instead. Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, whilst garlic contains a compound called ‘allicin’ which has shown immune properties (Agarwal 1996). Ginger, on the other hand, is a great option with anti-inflammatory properties (Grzanna et al. 2005). Find them in our Boost Me Ginger and Mango smoothies.
Surprisingly, how you prepare and consume foods can alter how effective they are at boosting your immune system. Cooking vegetables as little as possible helps retain water-soluble nutrients such as vitamin C. However, light cooking is beneficial for enhancing nutrients like beta-carotene. Find the perfect compromise by steaming vegetables as opposed to boiling them.
The big picture
Above all, having a balanced and varied diet is the key to keeping your immune system healthy; there is no one ‘superfood’ or group of ‘superfoods’ that can stop you from catching a cold or the flu. Consistency is also key. Our convenient range of shots, jellies and smoothies could help you achieve both. Don’t waste your money on expensive intravenous vitamin drips; everyday foods are by far the most effective way of fighting back against colds and flu this winter. In the words of Hippocrates; ‘let food be thy medicine’!