What to eat to help ward off colds and flu
Cold and flu season is upon us but there are things you can do to help strengthen your body’s defences – and luckily, some of them taste great as well as being good for you.
“Eating well is one of the best ways to support your immune system, so your body has a better chance of fighting off colds and flu and recovering from symptoms more quickly,” says the leading UK nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville.
While most of us are tempted to fill up on stodgy comfort food as the weather turns colder, it’s more important than ever to get your five a day in winter. If salads don’t appeal, stock up on health-boosting antioxidants in the form of hearty soups, stews and casseroles.
“Fresh vegetables and fruit are packed with vitamins and antioxidants – the body’s natural defence against free radicals, which contribute to heart disease and cancer, in addition to common infections like colds and flu,” says Glenville. “Good sources of antioxidants include vitamin A (absorbed by the body in the form of beta carotene), vitamins C and E, and selenium – low levels of which have been linked to increased risk of developing more severe flu.”
When it comes to choosing foods, go for brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, in particular, orange-hued foods, such as carrots and pumpkin, which are good sources of beta carotene.
Selenium is found in foods including soybeans, lentils, oysters, crab, mussels, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, yoghurt, cashews, peanuts, Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds.
Recipes to try: