It doesn’t really matter whether it’s winter or summer, these days the common cold seems to strike any time of the year.
Congestion, fever, cough, runny nose and all kinds of allergies and viruses that go with it can make everyday life a bit tough. By including some key ingredients to your meals every day, you may just help fight these unwanted symptoms.
Keeping vitamins up and boosting your immunity- as naturally as possible- is a key element to staying healthy. Superfoods can help fend off a cold or flu before it begins.
Below are some nutrient-rich foods, which provide an excellent source of nutritional benefits and minerals, helping to bolster your health and in turn strengthen your overall wellbeing.
Honey- Is known to bolster the immune system as it has anti-bacterial properties that help heal and soothe. Greek honey is known as one of the best in the world and is readily available in most Continental specialty stores around the globe. (Please note you should NEVER give honey to children under the age of 1).
Olive oil- Extra virgin olive oil has higher levels of anti-oxidants, especially Vitamin E, which is is great to help boost immunity. You can include it in all styles of cooking and can also drizzle some lightly on your salad.
Greek yoghurt- This high protein food is packed full of probiotics. Yoghurt that contains live cultures promotes a strong immune system because the friendly bacteria in yoghurt keeps the bad bacteria from increasing in number.
Mountain tea- Greek mountain tea (tsai tou vounou) is high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which can help boost immunity. It’s also caffeine-free, so you can drink it any time of the day and also serve to children.
Oats- Great for winter as they warm up your insides and help guard against the outside cold. Oats also contain a type of fibre called beta-glucan, which is known for its immune-boosting properties. If you or your child find them a bit bland, add some chopped fruit to make them tastier.
Carrots & sweet potatoes- Orange fruits and vegetables are also rich in beta-carotene. When we eat these foods, our bodies convert them into Vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system. Add them to soups, stews or baked dishes.
Oranges & mandarins- Are a rich source of Vitamin C and filled with flu-fighting essentials. Make sure you pack your snack and lunch boxes with plenty of them.
Blueberries- These berries contain the most active antioxidants of any fresh fruit and are a great treat on their own, or you can toss them on to some Greek yoghurt.
Broccoli and greens- The darker the greens, the higher the nutrient content and these vegetables are also easy to prepare. Filled with folate and folic acid, spinach, kale and all greens really are a wonder food. Steaming your greens is the best way to cook them and served with some protein, they are extremely beneficial.
Pomegranate- Is filled with polyphenols and a plant chemical that fights against inflammation. A lot of Greek recipes include pomegranate seeds as a dressing for their salads. If your child won’t eat the seeds, you can blend it into a fruit juice.
Garlic- Is packed with the chemical allicin and releases a powerful antioxidant that helps ward off illness. Include it in soups, stews, pasta dishes and really it can be tossed into anything you cook.
Eggs- Yolks are also a rich source of protein and contain zinc and selenium, which are important minerals that help boost the immune system. Soft boiled, hard-boiled, scrambled or fried- they are a great breakfast option.
Cinnamon- Is an anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial spice that boosts immunity and helps fights off colds and flu. You can mix into your porridge, milk, tea or juice. Traditional Greek recipes include a lot of cinnamon in both sweet and savoury dishes.
Mushrooms- Are a major source of the immune system-boosting mineral, zinc. Add them to a bolognese sauce or you can also grill them or bake them.
Ginger- Tossing some fresh, chopped ginger into your soups, stir-fries or tea can lessen cold symptoms.
Red capsicum- Are very high in Vitamin C and almost three times the C of an orange. They can be eaten raw as a snack, or also add them to stews and soups.
Avocados- Are a great source of lutein, that works as an antioxidant and also contains Vitamin E. Spread some on your toast, sandwich or mash it and turn it into a healthy dip.
Please note, our research was conducted using a variety of sources- however, you should always consult your GP if you have any concerns.