Fruit and vegetables to help prevent colds and flu
Posted on Aug 17, 2017
“I think I’m getting a cold”. It’s a simple statement which, when uttered by any woman’s husband, male partner or work colleague instils a sense of foreboding. If he does catch a dreaded cold, the days ahead will be spent pandering to his every miserable whim. We may laugh when his good health is restored, but living with someone, or having a cold yourself, is no fun and it’s much better to try and avoid one altogether.
Stress, lack of sleep, poor hand hygiene and getting too close to an infected person when they cough or sneeze is enough for any little cold virus to attach itself to the nasal passages and wreck the week, however, there are foods with anti-viral properties which help boost the immune system and fight off a virus before it takes hold.
If you want to avoid colds or flu this season, a trip to your local greengrocer is a great place to start.
Citrus after stress
Vitamin C is an extremely important immune boosting nutrient. During stress, or after a particularly stressful time, our adrenal glands use up about 80% of the body’s Vitamin C supply which leaves little for the immune system to draw on to defend the system from an attack of a cold or flu virus. Vitamin C does not store for long in the body and it’s important to eat a good supply of vitamin C rich foods each day. Citrus fruits such as lemon, grapefruit, tangelo, and mandarins are all excellent sources of vitamin C.
Other great Vitamin C foods include red chilli, guava, red capsicum, Brussels sprouts, papaya, kale, parsley, Asian greens, kiwi fruit, blackcurrants, mango, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, spinach and tomatoes.
Garlic guards against colds
Ancient folklore suggests the use of garlic to prevent colds and flu.
More recent studies confirm that people who take a daily dose of garlic have fewer colds than those who took a placebo, and, when the garlic eaters did come down with a cold, the duration of illness was shorter. The garlic must be fresh and crushed in order to activate garlic’s antiviral properties derived from the natural sulphur compound, allicin, which gives garlic its characteristic smell. The ideal prescription is one or two raw cloves, crushed a day. If that seems unpalatable, you may prefer to add the garlic to dips, dressings, mashed potato, and fresh juices. Eat it quickly though because the volatile compounds are lost about one hour after crushing. Other natural sulphurous vegetables include onions and leeks.
The magic of mushrooms
Have you ever wondered why some people are always catching colds and others do not? Emerging research suggests this may be due to a Vitamin D deficiency and those who repeatedly catch colds have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is a nutrient which the body can make easily when exposed to sunlight, however during the colder months when colds and flu are rife we’re less likely to bare our bodies outside. Vitamin D can be obtained from seafood, however, one of the best, and most inexpensive, sources of this valuable nutrient, is from Vitamin D mushrooms.
Mushrooms, given an extra blast of UV light after harvesting quickly produce vitamin D. Our body needs between 5 – 15 mcg vitamin D a day which is easily achieved by eating 3 small button mushrooms.
Shiitake mushrooms have been used medicinally in Asian cultures for hundreds of years, but Western scientists can now confirm that regular consumption of shitake mushrooms also enhances the immune system and reduces inflammation.
Crazy for kimchi
Kimchi is a traditional Korean food made by fermenting vegetables with probiotic lactic acid bacteria. This vegetable probiotic food has the similar gut and immune health benefits as yoghurt plus additional health benefits from the many nutrients found in cabbage, garlic, ginger and ingredients used in it. It’s easy and inexpensive to make, keeps for several weeks in the refrigerator and, the added bonus, and is delicious served as a healthy accompaniment to most savoury dishes.