With cold days well and truly arriving, it’s tempting to just shut out the weather, whop the heating up and consume pints of hot chocolate. But the grim reality is that we’re out no matter how cold it is and the kids are literally dripping with germs.
Whilst I can arm myself to the hilt with hand sanitiser, there is absolutely no way to avoid the tidal wave of coughs and colds upon us. For the last two nights, Thomas has wanted to hold my face whilst coughing directly in my face. This is truly what dreams are made of.
My need to consume vitamin packed, immune boosting foods knows no end – but I have the added caveat they have to taste delicious and be comforting too. So, I’m in full winter warmer detox mode, swigging on this immune boosting soup whilst trying to convince everyone that an earlier bedtime would be of mutual benefit.
Sadly, the kids are buying the early bedtime so I’ve had to find other options:
6 Immune Boosting Foods
1. Citrus – start and end the day with hot water and sliced lemon
Obviously, all citrus fruits are brilliant and clementines are delicious at this time of year, but I love starting the day with hot water and lemon – it just feels cleansing! Of course, I still follow it up with a shot of espresso in the morning (and just to point out, a large slice of lime in a gin and tonic surely would fit the bill too!). Vitamin C is needed daily for continued health because your body doesn’t produce or store it – so if you ever needed an excuse…!
2. Yoghurt – quick breakfast and easy pudding
By yoghurt, I don’t mean those packed with sugar nor those disgusting diet ones. Rather anything with ‘live and active’ cultures like Greek yoghurt – or even those fortified with vitamin D. There’s a beautiful one that has greek honey in it too which is just delicious. Apparently the cultures in yoghurt can boost the immune system to help ward off the germs, but can also blog the replication of the viruses once in your system.
3. Garlic – crush up into spagbol, soups, guacamole
I adore garlic and have visions of waving it as germ monsters as you would a vampire. That may be because I’m half way to being overcome by a virus – but it’s still delicious either way. I would just chuck it in anything you can get away with. Roasted with vegetables, in any pasta dish, on toast…. you get the idea. Even early civilisations realised it’s value in fighting infections so it’s got to be an obvious one.
4. Shellfish – quick and easy stir fry
Shellfish is generally good for you in that it’s fairly low in fat yet packed with nutrients. But the ones to really boost your immune system are things like mussels that are packed with zinc. Zinc is needed for our immune cells to function properly so it makes sense to ensure you’re getting a good dose. I personally love mussels cooked in cream and bacon with a good chunk of bread to dip in, which may not be the healthiest but is the nicest thing on a cold day!
5. Almonds – quick snack or great on top of porridge.
Almonds are a mainstay in our diet anyway as their packed with vitamins. Obviously vitamin C is well known for fighting germs, but vitamin E is also key for a healthy immune system. Weirdly, it’s a fat-soluble vitamin, so requires fat to be absorbed by the body. Almonds are packed with the vitamin and have healthy fats – plus they’re really tasty.
6. Green veg – like spinach – in a salads
Spinach needs to make the list, firstly because it’s rammed with vitamin C but also because it has loads of antioxidants and beta carotene. I usually have some in my wrap or salad at lunch, plus a little on the side at dinner. I also love it cooked with butter and nutmeg – but I’m not sure if this loses any of the nutrients so I guess that’s just a good excuse to eat a bit more!
P.S. Cake and coffee illustration comes from the talent of Alison Soye. With thanks to Coo Clayton for her ideas too! You can get a copy of their awesome book – Maggie’s Mittens – on Amazon or at all good bookshops.