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Immune boosting foods for the cooler months

Ways to boost immune system
The weather is cooling down and it appears to be the time of year where we are more susceptible to getting upper respiratory infections. You can eat well to protect yourself from this!

Simple measures like getting 8-9 hours sleep per night, avoiding refined carbohydrates and getting enough sunshine each day (for your vitamin D levels) are very effective however there are certain immune-boosting foods that are also beneficial…

1. Orange coloured vegetables - carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato are all good sources of betacarotene, a precursor to vitamin A which is essential for immune health particularly at preventing skin and urinary tract infections. Beta-carotene being a fat-soluble vitamin, an oil is required for absorption into the body (e.g. drizzle flaxseed over after cooking).

2. Red capsicum - one of the highest sources of vitamin C when eaten fresh. Vitamin C is immune enhancing and required alongside zinc to reduce the onset and severity of infection.

3. Green tea - studies have shown that a couple of cups of quality green tea per day can reduce the chances of influenza. This may be due to the antioxidant properties due to the flavonoid content.

4. Garlic - recent evidence has proven that garlic is just as potent as some forms of antibiotics at killing bacteria! The local antimicrobial effect will prevent the lingering of pathogenic bacteria in the throat and digestive system

5. Curry spices - cumin seed, coriander seed, cinnamon and turmeric - energetically they are warming and nourishing to our digestive system but they are also antimicrobial and have immune-boosting properties.

6. Shiitake mushrooms - Contain a constituent called Lentinan, it communicates with our immune system via our digestive tract, to stimulate and boost white blood cells and ward off infection.

7. Yoghurt - this means proper good quality fermented yoghurt preferably from a health food grocery store - can be goat's or sheep's milk too. As the beneficial bacteria promote a healthy digestive tract which in turn improves our innate immune defenses.
Another great piece of advice for your overall health and wellbeing is to make sure there is a rainbow on your plate - consume a variety of coloured vegetables and fruit everyday to reap the phytonutrient rewards from every meal.

If you have any specific questions or want to know more, you can ask our resident Naturopath Laura from Abundant Health Naturopathy via our Naturopath Enquiry form.

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