by Joanne Hart

Winter warmers

Foods to boost your immune system in winter

Foods to boost your immune system in winter
immune system

One way to keep your immune system strong and prevent colds and flu is to boost your antioxidant levels. The three major antioxidant vitamins are vitamin C, beta-carotene and vitamin E, found in colourful fruits and vegetables. To get the best benefits of antioxidants, don’t overcook or boil these foods – eat them raw or lightly steamed. 

Beta-carotene and other carotenoids can be found in: apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Foods rich in vitamin C include: berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spanspek, cauliflower, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, orange, pawpaw, red, green or yellow peppers, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.

You will find vitamin E in: broccoli, carrots, chard, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds.

Other foods rich in antioxidants include: prunes, apples, raisins, plums, red grapes, onions, brinjals and beans. 

 

Supplements

If it’s difficult for you to get enough antioxidants in your diet by eating fresh fruit and vegetables, you can take a vitamin and mineral supplement. It’s important to talk to your pharmacist or doctor about the correct supplement for you, as too much vitamin A and E can be toxic. 

 

Manage your alcohol intake

Alcohol is full of calories, even before you add mixers or additives into the equation. If you’re socialising a lot this winter, or tempted to make gluhwein part of your evening defrosting plans, have a glass of water before and after each drink – it will help you to pace yourself.

If you miss an exercise date or overeat, don't let it put you off your goal. Simply cut your calorie intake for a few days and add some extra exercise. Try to get exercise wherever you can in winter: take walks, use the stairs and do stretches at home.

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