Being such a busy time of year and with the cold weather reallly kicking in so many of us and our kids come down with colds, coughs and the flu as our immune systems are lower and our bodies less fit to ward off the illnesses! Boosting your immune system is key to not only recovering faster but also means you have less chance of catching the cold and sickness bugs in the first place. So I picked our Scrummy Mummy, Nutritionist’s, Steph Ridley’s brains for her top tips to ward off colds and flu this Christmas so you can enjoy the festivities and not have to spend it in bed with a box of tissues!
Vitamin C and ‘antioxidants’ are key to boosting your immune system. These are found in fruits and vegetables and whilst your diet may include plenty of these the amount of actual vitamin C your getting from your fruit and vegetables may not be as high as you think. Vitamin C is water soluable and heat sensitive so these elements deplete their levels. Any heat processing, which occurs during the manufacturing process of juice, and boiling or cooking vegetables reduces the vitamin C content.
- So, always buy a juice which says ‘NOT from concentrate’. Orange juice from concentrate is more radically heat processed. Better still squeeze your own from pure oranges.
- Drink a mug of hot water every morning with lemon and manuka honey will give you a real boost. The lemon contains vitamin C and the manuka honey is a natural antibacterial agent.
- Steam your veg – we often think by eating vegetables and fruit we are having vitamin C but if these have been subjected to prolonged heat this destroys the vitamins and nutrients. Steaming and stir-frying your vegetables is the best way to retain vitamins as they are quicker cooking methods.
- Add a daily handful of berries such as blueberries, blackberries or Strawberries to your breakfast or snack you’ll be taking in more antioxidants to boost your immune systems
- Eat plenty of green vegetables in particular brussel sprouts – these have high levels of vitamin C.
For a lovely green vegetable recipe which takes just ten minutes to prepare, go to the Beez Kneez recipe binder on the bbc good food website.