Flu season is here, and the germs are pretty hard to avoid at the office, on the bus, at the mall, and basically everywhere you go.
So other than the flu jab and good hygiene, what else can help you to fight the germs and stay healthy this winter? Here are the foods to add to your diet according to nutritionists Zoe Bingley Pullin and Jessica Sepel:
Yes, your mum was right. Eating dark leafy greens is a great way to boost your immune system and fight the flu according to international health blogger and founder of JSHealth, Jessica Sepel.
Celebrity chef Zoe Bingley Pullin says proteins from foods like red kidney beans, chickpeas and cannellini beans are necessary fuel for the immune system cells:
"Legumes also offer a source of fibre, which we know is necessary to support optimal health and gut health specifically; gut flora can play a role in immunity," she says.
Jessica says spices like turmeric, cayenne pepper and clove are excellent germ fighters:
"These everyday superfoods are great at guarding your body against the winter colds. Rest is also super important here and incorporating gentle exercise into your day," she says.
Zoe adds that turmeric contains the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound curcumin, which is beneficial for a healthy immune system. "Curcumin is poorly absorbed so it’s important to eat turmeric alongside a source of fat such as extra virgin olive oil and pinch of black pepper to increase the absorption," she says.
People who are deficient in zinc are more susceptible to infections, according to Zoe. She recommends including pumpkin seeds, ginger and beef in your diet as a way of upping your zinc intake.
"Start each day with a probiotic that is immune boosting and get some bare skin in the sunlight when you can for a vitamin D boost," Jessica suggests.
Foods like natural yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, kombucha and sauerkraut are all full of good probiotics and help support the gut.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Zoe says omega-3 fatty acids are not only "essential to health but may also improve the ability of immune cells to mount a response to invading pathogens". Foods like fatty fish, hemp seeds, walnuts, chia and flax seeds are excellent sources of omega-3.
You likely already have most of these ingredients in the pantry, so get cooking and give your body a helping hand to make it through the cold season in one piece!