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Boosting your immunity

Our immune system is constantly on alert fighting off bacteria, bugs and infections. If we are a bit run down, tired, or stressed, or if our diets are lacking in nutrients we can easily come down with a cold. With this cold weather, it can be harder to keep winter bugs at bay, and it can be difficult to bounce back particularly after a nasty bout of flu.

So how can we protect ourselves? Read on for our top immune boosting tips.

  1. Get your five a day. Fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. These nutrients are vital for helping us fight off infections. Simple ways to boost your fruit and veg intake are to add fruit to your morning cereal or to Greek yoghurt for a healthy dessert. Have a bowl of soup and a salad at lunchtime, and roast, stir-fry or steam a wide range of vegetables and serve with your evening meal, or add lots of vegetables to warming winter dishes such as casseroles.
  2. Add onions and garlic to your cooking. Both have natural antiviral and antibiotic properties which make them great for warding off germs. If your social life allows, have onions and garlic raw whenever you can.
  3. Eat curry. Turmeric and coriander, both key spices used in curries, contain antioxidants. Ginger and cinnamon are wonderful warming herbs and have traditionally been used to help relieve colds, plus cinnamon has the added benefit of containing anti-bacterial properties. But before you reach for the takeaway menu, have a go at making your own curry – many takeaway curries are full of saturated fat and salt. Also consider other spiced dishes such as Moroccan, Turkish and Lebanese food.
  4. Reduce sugar and excess alcohol and caffeine as they deplete the body of nutrients and can depress the immune system.
  5. Drink green tea. Although green tea contains some caffeine, drunk in moderation it may help boost immunity as it is high in a group of potent antioxidants called flavonoids.
  6. Ditch white foods (e.g. white bread, pasta and rice), which have little nutritional value. Instead eat dense fibrous foods such as rye bread, brown rice and oats. These foods are packed full of nutrients including B vitamins and zinc which are vital for our immunity.

De-stress. Excess stress can lower our body’s immunity so take time out to relax and get away from it all. Curl up and read a good book, watch a funny film, or wrap up warm and get outside for a long calming walk in the countryside or by the coast.

Book in for a DIET MOT to see if you can make improvements in your diet and your health!

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