With autumn upon us and winter approaching, we all start to turn our thoughts to how to prepare our bodies to stave off colds and flu. With COVID-19 on our doorstep this year, it’s something that’s on everyone’s mind – how do I get my body healthy so that I’m best placed to deal with any illness I may get this year.
When your body has the right level of nutrients it needs to help build your immune system, it’s in the best position to help defend itself. Our bodies need good amounts of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and D, and zinc. You can of course get these from a synthetic pill, but nature has a way of giving us this plus so much more.
We thought it would be helpful to talk about foods that can help you with the building blocks of a good immune system and may help when you’re feeling sick.
Chicken soup has been a go-to for sickness for generations, and for good reason. It’s an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals and water. Chicken is also high in vitamin B-6, which is important in many chemical reactions that happen in the body, and it help with the formation of red blood cells. Broth is another great way of consuming the nutrients that chicken soup can give you.
Who doesn’t love a hot cup of tea! Many teas contain polyphenols, which is a natural substance found in plants that may have many health benefits, including being a good antioxidant and have anti-inflammatory effects (3).
Studies have shown that green tea, specifically it’s levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGDG) has been shown to enhance immune function. This is because green tea is fermented so unlike the process that black tea undergoes, the EGDG is preserved.
One of our favourite remedies when we’re feeling under the weather here at Nutrient Rescue is to mix a scoop of Red Shot with warm water, and a spoonful of honey. It’s like drinking a soothing cup of berry tea, only you KNOW it’s full of nutrients.
This amazing green vegetable is loaded with vitamins A, C and E, fiber and other antioxidants. It’s one of the most nutritious plants you can eat.
Just make sure to cook it as little as possible to maintain as many pf the nutrients as possible.
Long known to be natural remedy, honey has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. A study in 2020 found that honey was more effective at alleviating a cough in children than over the counter cough suppressants (4).
Manuka honey is nature’s best, and its antibacterial properties set it apart from traditional honeys. Manuka honey also has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Traditionally it’s been used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay, and improving digestive issues.
Our friends over at Airborne Honey have a range of Manuka honey lozenges that are great to stock up on when you’re feeling under the weather.
Fruits are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which supports overall health and immune function.
Blackcurrant, the small but powerful New Zealand berry is gaining a reputation as one of the best superfoods available globally. Packed full of vitamin C and antioxidants, it boosts the immune system and reduces oxidative stress. Research shows that New Zealand blackcurrants rank significantly higher in levels of antioxidant activity than other fruit. These berries are the most nutritious in the world due to the strong UV light conditions that cause the blackcurrants to form a thicker, darker skin rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols.
Anthocyanins work by preventing free radicals from attacking our cells. So that means a stronger immune system and slower aging too!
Boysenberries are packed full of an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which is what gives the fruit its red/purple colour. Fruits high in anthocyanins are great fruits to eat while sick because they have strong anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immune boosting effects.
Add some to a fruit bowl, your porridge or cereal, or blend into a cold smoothie to help ease a sore throat.
Yogurt contains beneficial probiotics, which are strains of bacteria that colonise in your gut and help to provide health benefits. A handful of studies showed that probiotics can help children and adults get colds less often, heal faster when sick, and take fewer antibiotics (5, 6, 7, 8)
If you prefer to be dairy free, then opt for other fermented foods containing probiotics, such as kombucha or a probiotic supplement instead.
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They’re especially good sources of plant-based iron, vitamin C, K and folate (9). They’re also full of beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols which act to protect our cells from damage and help fight inflammation (10).
Our Green and Double Shots contain a range of green superfoods such as Wheat and barley grass, green pea, and broccoli sprouts. These green veggies are known to be nutrient-dense, which means they’re generally more beneficial nutritionally than many other green veggies.
Used for centuries in herbal medicine, studies have shown garlic to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties (1).
Aged garlic extract supplements may enhance immune function and decrease the severity of colds and the flu. (2)
What are you doing at Nutrient Rescue to prepare?
Along with most other New Zealander’s the prospect of potentially getting sick isn’t appealing. In fact, all our staff here have upped their daily dose of Double Shot to twice a day, as we’re firm believers that if your body has all the nutrients it needs to function optimally, then you’re going a long way to giving yourself a ‘head start’ in the health department so to speak.
The bottom line, is that staying hydrated, resting and getting proper nutrition are some of the most important things you can do to ensure your body is in tip-top fighting shape.
While no food can cure any illness, eating the right foods may help support your immune system and offer some relief from certain symptoms.