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Flu-fighting flavours for winter meals

27 Jun 2013

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At this time of year, there seems to be a perpetual cold and flu virus floating around – our natural defences tend to lower slightly and our immune systems can be caught off-guard. The best way to prevent the winter blues? Load up on superfoods and infection-fighting nutrients. Here are some superstar ingredients that help to boost your immune system.

 

Yoghurt

The live active cultures (known as acidophilus and bifidus) found in this dairy product have the ability to keep the gut and intestinal tract free of germs, improve digestion and boost immunity.

Top tip: Choose a brand that mentions live and active cultures or bacteria on the label. Natural yoghurt is a great winter condiment for curries, casseroles and tagines.

 

Blueberries

These bite-size berries are one of the richest sources of antioxidants and a good source of vitamin C, which is essential for strengthening the immune system. They are also an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, which can help improve bowel health and keep your cholesterol levels in check. 

Top tip: Whip up a frozen blueberry smoothie.

 


Broccoli

 

As well as being another good source of vitamin C, this crunchy green is high in folic acid and boosts the body’s ability to fight off cell damage. It shares immune boosting properties with other ‘cruciferous’ vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage and Brussesl sprouts.

 

Top tip: Boil for three minutes or until bright green then toss with fried garlic and chilli.


 

Garlic

 

This household favourite contains allicin, a natural antiviral and antibacterial agent. It’s also high in vitamins A, C, E and minerals that are vital to immune function.

 

Top tip: Add crushed garlic to salad dressings, dips, pastas and soups.


 

Spinach

 

One of the most popular superfoods, spinach is in season in Australia during autumn and winter. It’s high in vitamin B2, which helps normal antibody response and activates the immune system. It also helps fight against free-radical damage.

 

Top tip: Stir-fry with garlic and ginger or gently steam then serve with oil, lemon, salt and pepper.


Sweet potatoes

One of the best ways to get enough vitamin A in your diet is with foods that are rich in beta-carotene, such as sweet potatoes. They help reduce inflammation and provide antioxidants necessary for the body’s healing process.

 

Top tip: Mash for an easy dinner at home with the kids, or bake for a dinner party with adults.

If you’re keen to ward off the annual cold this winter, top up with these infection-fighting foods and help keep your defence system running smoothly all season long.