While a single food may not hold the answer to stopping a cold in its tracks, there’s a powerful combination of foods that will help keep your immune system in tip-top shape, and that’s your best natural defence against coughs and colds. So give your immune system a helping hand by making sure your shopping basket includes the following healthy items.
Healthy gut foods
It all starts in your tummy. A healthy immune system needs to be supported by good intestinal bacteria. For this you need prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients, such as fibre, that promote the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the intestines.
Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial to your intestinal microorganisms. You’ll find them in some fermented foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut and kimchi. Many outlets are now stocking a much larger range of probiotic foods. And there’s an important relationship between pre- and probiotic foods. Your intestinal tract needs the prebiotics to feed the probiotics. Your intestinal bacteria depend on a daily supply of prebiotic-rich fibre in order to stay healthy.
Need another reason to smash an avo on your toast? Healthy fats help regulate your immune system’s response to infection. So make sure your shopping trolley includes foods like avocado and nuts. A handful of nuts at least five times a week can provide a good source of zinc, which will also help boost your immunity.
Phytonutrients are chemicals released from plants that help them stay healthy—you can reap the same benefits by eating plenty of plant foods. Why not try some of our shopping basket essentials for a strong immune system?
Shopping basket essentials
Healthy gut foods — Keep your intestinal tract happy by eating foods full of probiotics (sourdough, kefir, yoghurts and sauerkraut) and prebiotics (whole grains, legumes and veggies such as Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus and onions).
Healthy fats — Healthy fats are really beneficial to your immune system, so fill your shopping list with yummy foods such as avocado, almonds, cashews, walnuts and olive oil. These will help boost your immunity and protect your immune system from infection.
Powerful plants — Eat the rainbow! Plants contain a tremendous amount of natural goodness, and your fridge should be full of them. During your next trip to the shops, throw in some coriander, turmeric, cumin, carrots, berries, spinach and lots of other spices, herbs and veggies to stay fighting fit this winter.
Article courtesy of Sanitarium Health Food Company. Visit sanitarium.com.au or sanitarium.co.nz and subscribe to Wholicious Living for more great health and nutrition info each month.