Want to strengthen your immune system? Here are 7 surprising foods that could help

By HarperLees

We’re rapidly approaching the time of year when everyone spends more time indoors and social gatherings are more in pubs, restaurants, and homes than in the park or outside.

With that, comes an increased chance of spreading colds, the flu, and other airborne illnesses.

Indeed, information released by the government revealed that influenza positivity showed an increased level of activity between October 2022 and March 2023.

As Covid taught us, it can be very easy to spread colds and viruses when you’re spending so much time indoors with others.

So, with winter rapidly approaching, now is a great time to start thinking about how you can strengthen your immune system and help reduce the spread of coughs and colds during the festive season.

With that in mind, here are seven surprising foods and ingredients that could help boost your natural resistance and keep you healthy.

1. Oily fish

In the winter, you could be more susceptible to colds, flu, and other respiratory infections. Not only could this mean you have to take days off work, but it could also increase the chances of your family members getting ill.

Adding oily fish, such as pilchards, tuna, and salmon, to your diet at least once a week could provide your natural defences with additional support in preventing these illnesses and stopping the spread.

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, oily fish may also reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a 2014 report.

2. Broccoli

As the dark winter nights start to roll in and the warm summer evenings become a distant memory, the desire for hearty soups may well increase.

So, the next time you’re making a delicious vegetable soup for you and your family to enjoy, or you’d like to add some extra vegetables to your plate, why not consider the immune system boosting benefits of broccoli.

As a major source of vitamin C and potent antioxidants, broccoli can be a very effective tool in the fight against colds and the winter flu.

In fact, studies have shown that vitamin C is arguably one of the most essential nutrients for immune function, with it playing a role in both the treatment and prevention of various illnesses.

3. Sweet potatoes

If you’re looking to protect yourself and your loved ones from the common cold or the winter flu, you could do worse than add sweet potatoes to your diet.

The orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are some of the richest natural sources of beta carotene, a plant-based compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body.

In fact, studies have shown that vitamin A deficiency can increase gut inflammation and reduce the ability of your body to respond properly to potential threats.

So the next time you’re cooking, why not consider adding sweet potatoes to the dish? They’re a great accompaniment to a variety of meat and oily fish dishes.

4. Garlic

If you often suffer from a cold, sore throat, sinus problems, or the flu during winter months, why not consider adding more garlic to your diet?

Aside from sometimes turning a bland meal into a delicious one, garlic features high sulphur content, which can help your body absorb the trace element zinc. This is known as an immunity booster.

Additionally, a study looked at whether taking garlic supplements reduced the risk of getting a cold. The number of participants taking a placebo had more than double the number of colds between them than those taking the garlic supplements.

5. Spinach

Popeye knew the true power of spinach!

Containing a variety of nutrients and antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, magnesium, flavonoids, and carotenoids, spinach can be a very effective way of boosting your immune system.

So, as the common cold season approaches, consider adding spinach to your daily meals to reduce the chances of you and your loved ones suffering from respiratory illnesses.

6. Blueberries

As the cold weather approaches and the nights draw in, you may be looking for some delicious recipes that warm the soul as well as the body. Why not add blueberries to your apple crumble and help boost your natural defences in the process?

In addition to tasting great, blueberries contain flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that can help reduce damage to cells and boost your immunity.

In fact, a 2016 study noted that these flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defence system.

Additionally, blueberries feature plenty of vitamins, including vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as manganese, potassium, and dietary fibre.

7. Dark chocolate

You may be like the thousands of people in the UK that love to treat themselves with some delicious dark chocolate occasionally. Along with the great taste, dark chocolate boasts some immune system boosting properties too.

In fact, research has suggested that dark chocolate can improve immune function because it features flavonols and other antioxidants that offer anti-inflammatory benefits.

With immunity dependent upon blood flow, dark chocolate’s ability to enhance endothelial function can be very useful.

Additionally, dark chocolate antioxidants like theobromine can help to protect the body’s cells from molecules like “free radicals”. These can damage the body’s cells and contribute to disease.

Of course, as dark chocolate is high in saturated fat and calories, it is important to eat it in moderation.

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Incorporating some of these foods and ingredients into your diet could boost your immune system and help you to live longer and healthier.

Just as important as looking after your health is looking after your finances, so speak with our experienced financial planners to help you identify your financial goals and how much you need to achieve them.

Please email info@harperlees.co.uk or call 01277 350560.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.