Citrus is rich in vitamin C, the water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant, which helps to boost your immune system and fight off common colds. Winter is the best time to feast on oranges, lemons, lime, grapefruit, naartjies, guava and kiwi fruit. If you’re not keen on munching away at them day after day, try making a delicious smoothie with a few of your favourites, blueberries and yoghurt – it will definitely pack a vitamin and taste punch.
Garlic is known to help with the function of your immune system and improve cholesterol levels, which may lower the risk of heart disease. It is recommended to eat raw garlic to get the full benefits, but we know some of you won’t be keen on the garlicky breath. So, the easiest way to include garlic in your diet is to cook with it and use it raw as flavouring on breads, pasta and pizza, followed by a bit of parsley to neutralise it.
Pumpkin And Butternut
We’re incredibly lucky that we have an abundance of butternut and pumpkin in the shops come winter. The winter squashes contain betcarotene (a form of vitamin A), the antioxidant lycopene and minerals such as magnesium, potassium and iron. And as they’re high in fibre and low in kilojoules, you can eat them to your heart’s content without the guilt.
Oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna, is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of white blood cells that kill bacteria. Fish is also an important source of B vitamins, which help with the production of serotonin, the “happy” chemical.
Nuts contain heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins (vitamin E) and minerals, such as magnesium and selenium – but some nuts are better than others. Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pecans, Macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts are the better options, but remember they are high in calories and you should always opt for natural, not salted.
This is the number-one breakfast choice for many. The reason? Oats are rich in fibre, ensuring you stay fuller for longer and you’ll have energy for the whole day. They’re also rich in antioxidants and B vitamins, which help reduce stress and boost immunity.
Yoghurt, especially natural varieties, is filled with bacteria known as probiotics. This bacteria is essential for a healthy gut, it optimises the absorption of nutrients and enhances and promotes a wholesome immune system.
Ginger – a natural anti-inflammatory – helps to improve circulation, fight infection, lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol and eases indigestion. Try a soothing ginger tea or go crazy with ginger the next time you feast on some fresh sushi.