Eat your way to good health!With the temperature dipping considerably, viral infections and cold and cough could well take the city by siege any day. And so, you should do all it takes to protect yourself. One of the best ways to boost your immune system, keep it strong and avoid falling sick with colds, flu and other infections, is to pay extra attention to what you eat.
Experts recommend a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables as this will help you resist infections because these super foods contain immune-boosting antioxidants that will protect your body.
Antioxidants are minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that protect and repair cells in your body from the damage caused by free radicals. Researchers say it is this damage that wrecks havoc by inflicting you with a number of chronic diseases, some of which include hardening of the arteries, cancer and even arthritis. Keep yourself fighting fit this cold season by eating smart.
Experts cannot stress enough the benefits of including more fruit and vegetables to your daily diet. The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E and these are found in fruits and vegetables with red, yellow, purple, blue and orange hues.
When you consume these, try to eat them raw or slightly steamed – avoid boiling or overcooking them, so that the nutrients in them remain intact.
Foods that include beta-carotene are: Apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, mangoes, turnip, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelons.
Foods that include vitamin C are: Berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, orange, papaya, red, green or yellow peppers, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
Foods that include vitamin E are: Broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds.
Experts also recommend foods such as prunes, apples, raisins, berries, plums, onions and beans, which are rich in antioxidants.
While vitamins go a long way in keeping you healthy, foods rich in zinc such as oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, fortified cereals, and dairy products and selenium found in tuna, beef, poultry and fortified breads are also known to boost your immunity.
Garlic is also known to help fight viruses and decrease the risk of catching a cold. Have it raw for the best effect – crush, dice or mince is and have it with your meals. "