Fight flu and fend off all other bugs that cold and changing weather conditions fire at you by increasing your intake of immunity boosting foods.
Chicken soup, hot lemon drinks and loads of vitamin C. They’re the hand-me- down prescriptions for fighting off the cold and flu bugs that take hold when the seasons change. But since we’re all still having to dodge the germs and sniffles every year, there’s ample proof that they don’t really work. So why not trying the foods recommended below.
1 Fermented Dairy
This is without doubt one of the better sources of glutamine which is used as a fuel for the intestine and also contains probiotics. Intestine health is the biggest part of the immune system. Interestingly, the humble cabbage is also a decent vegetable source of glutamine and can also be fermented by several cultures into probiotic products such as kimchi and sauerkraut.
Take: Kefir – healthy intestine microbes are a-plenty in this type of milk. Ideally add 500ml to a post-run smoothie.
They contain a wide range of immune-regulating properties and also antibacterial properties as well as B vitamins and selenium. US studies have also highlighted how anti-oxidant components can help cells to prevent harm from free radicals – which can run rife after you’ve been running or riding.
The research from Penn State University measured the anti-oxidant armoury in several kinds of mushrooms. The outcomes revealed that white button mushrooms not only packed more punch in the anti-oxidant department than the rarer ones – but that they contain more anti-oxidants than tomatoes, green peppers, pumpkins, carrots or green beans.
Take: 140g of mushrooms in a salad with chorizo, cannellini beans and onion.
3 Cruciferous vegetables
These contain a compound known as ‘DIM’ (diindolylmethane) that has numerous anti-microbial and immune enhancing properties. The likes of broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy also contain an array of compounds that support the immune system and detoxification.
Australian research discovered that crunchy greens may help control immune cells vital to a healthy digestive system. Proteins present in cruciferous vegetables support the genes which produce the cells that keep ‘bad’ bacteria out of the intestine. It’s suggested that a regular intake of leafy veg could even prevent conditions like bowel cancer, food allergy and inflammatory disease.
Take: Kale and chard salad with wild rice, cucumber, peppers, spring onions, fennel, lemon juice, honey.