Foods to boost immunity

Vitamin C in citrus fruits helps fight infection and is a good antioxidant to eat alongside vitamin E.
Photo / New Zealand Herald
Vitamin C in citrus fruits helps fight infection and is a good antioxidant to eat alongside vitamin E. Photo / New Zealand Herald

When we feel under the weather, many of us reach for the medical kit, but there are certain foods that can boost our immune systems.

Eating the right foods all through the year will help the body deal with challenges we may face more effectively.

A number of foods can boost your immunity. Try these for starters:

1. Nuts
Snack on almonds, cashews or walnuts, which are packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps kick pesky free-radicals out of your body and creates antibodies that fight the bacteria that make you sick.

2. Citrus Fruits

The famous vitamin C helps fight infection and is a good antioxidant to eat alongside vitamin E. Grapefruits, lemons, limes and tangerines are all part of this family. Citrus not your thing? Try capsicums - they have more vitamin C than an orange!

3. Prawns

Prawns may have cholesterol, but they're also extremely low in fat and contain the antioxidant selenium; many foods have a combination of "bad" and "good" nutrients, with balance ultimately mattering most. Selenium is a mineral needed in small amounts and works to support a healthy immune system.

4. Yoghurt

Probiotics, the "good bacteria" found in yoghurt and other foods, keep your digestive system up and running. According to research from the Journal of the American Dietetics Association, consuming foods with probiotics regularly may also help boost your immune system.

5. Green Tea

The polyphenols in green tea act as potent antioxidants. Research suggests that catechins, a specific type of polyphenol, may stimulate the immune-system cells and hinder disease-promoting compounds. Although you may detect a bitter taste, you can disguise it with a bit of honey. Adding milk is a no-no, as it will bind to the polyphenols and stop their immunity-building benefits.

- AAP

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