This happens to be an essential time to boost your immune system, by giving it all the nutrients it deserves. With all these different germs roaming in the air, your body needs all the help it can get to keep healthy and strong throughout every season. The very least you can do to protect yourself from illnesses is maintaining a healthier diet while practising safer hygiene.
At this particular time, your body needs something that can help it defend itself from being infected. One of the benefits of including vitamin C in your diet is strengthening your body’s natural defence. In as much as this could help your immune system, this does not mean you should be popping ridiculously high doses of the supplements, as there is no proof that this boosts your immune system any more than a lower dosage. For the best immunity, take one 200mg pill a day. Alternatively, one large roasted red pepper and 125ml glass of orange juice will give you the same amount.
Without protein, your immune system can’t function effectively. According to dietician and nutritionist Susie Burrel, eggs are one of the highest protein-containing foods with more than 20 essential vitamins and minerals. In general, most women can get all the protein they need by adding a serving of two eggs, 100g cooked chickpeas or 100g meat, fish or poultry to each main meal.
‘The membranes in our nose and throat are our front-line defence against bacteria and viruses, and vitamin A keeps them healthy,’ says dietitian Nichola Whitehead. You can get the amount you need daily from one large orange sweet potato (excellent baked), or a large handful of spinach thrown into a salad.
These are live bacteria which help keep your gut healthy. A daily serving of miso soup, natural yoghurt or fermented foods like sauerkraut is all you need. If you can’t manage that, a probiotic supplement is a good idea for boosting your immune system.
If you’re deficient in iron, your immune system works less efficiently. ‘Premenopause women need 14,8mg a day of iron,’ says Nichola Whitehead. ‘You can get it by eating 60g of liver.’
Not a fan of liver? Try beef, tofu, clams or mussels or dried apricots.
Personal Good Hygiene
Its the simplest things like washing your hands regularly that could make a huge difference. According to The Straits Times News in Singapore, using a tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing of it properly can help reduce the spread of germs. Things like keeping toilets clean and dry especially in public areas makes it slightly harder for germs to find their way into our bodies.
Zinc is essential for wound healing, blood clotting and thyroid function, and it will also alleviate cold symptoms. We need 7mg a day. Dark turkey meat is a great source (100g gives 5mg), or try a 150g steak. Or take in pill form.
A good old cup of tea
We all need a chemical called interferon as it helps us combat viruses. It’s found naturally in our bodies, but the amino acid L-theanine prompts our immune system to make more of the stuff – and guess where you find it? In a good old cup of tea. And it doesn’t have to be special tea: A study showed that everyday tea had the desired effect.