Boost your immunity by adding these 7 essential foods to your diet

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It’s officially Autumn. The leaves have started to turn golden, the nights are drawing in and all I want to do is hibernate!

The sudden drop in temperature brought about by the change of season can leave us vulnerable to colds and viruses and often makes us feel lethargic and run down – so how can we combat this?

First of all we need to know what causes us to feel this way. Damp weather and centrally heated buildings are the main causes. All of a sudden we stop our summer routine, which for most of us this year has consisted of long, warm days spent in the garden or going for walks – the lovely summer sun makes us feel good, it increases our production of Vitamin D and makes us feel healthy and wholesome. The damp Autumn, with its dull evenings makes us want to cuddle up on the sofa watching television!

Our diet during this period is very important since it is the main source of immunity. Regularly eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the natural way to boost your immune system. These great-tasting fruits and vegetables are nature's way of keeping you healthy. Natural foods that are high in Vitamins A, C, E, B-6, zinc and folic acid are beneficial in supporting the immune system.

Here are 7 essential fruits and vegetables that are sure to give your immune system the boost it needs this autumn...

1. Carrots

Carrots deliver 110% of the daily value for Vitamin A along with potassium and dietary fibre. Vitamin A is great for immune function support as well as skin and eye health. The average carrot has only 30 calories and they are so versatile, they can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, or served in soups, stews or casseroles.

2. Broccoli

Broccoli is an excellent source of Vitamin C with one stalk containing 220% of the daily value. One stalk of broccoli also provides potassium, dietary fibre, protein and all for a mere 45 calories. Broccoli can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, or served in many other cooked dishes such as quiche and pasta dishes.

3. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is also a good source of Vitamin C with 100% of the daily value contained in one-sixth of a cauliflower head. This serving of cauliflower contains only 25 calories yet has potassium and dietary fibre. Cauliflower can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, served in soup and is a tasty treat covered in cheese sauce (just not too often).

4. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain 120% of the daily value for Vitamin A in one medium-sized potato. This potato also offers potassium and dietary fibre. Sweet potatoes may be boiled, roast or baked before serving. Sweet potatoes are also a low GI food which keeps you fuller for longer.

5. Spinach

Spinach may cause many of us to think of Popeye and large muscles, but it also plays an important role in immune function because of its naturally high antioxidants. Spinach can be boiled or steamed it only needs a couple of minutes) or eaten raw as a salad green.

6. Oranges

Oranges are frequently associated with Vitamin C. One medium-sized orange delivers 130% or the daily value for Vitamin C. An orange also provides potassium yet has only 80 calories. Oranges are great eaten plain or easily juiced to make a nutritious drink.

7. Grapefruit

Grapefruit are also very high in Vitamin C with one-half of a grapefruit containing 100% of the daily value for Vitamin C. Grapefruits are surprisingly low in calories. Half of a grapefruit contains only 60 calories. Grapefruit are often linked with diets and weight loss but are also an excellent citrus fruit for boosting your immune system. Grapefruit are often eaten plain (sometimes with a sweetener added though) and are also easily juiced to make a refreshing, healthy fruit beverage.

These fruits and vegetables provide a tasty way to boost your immune system. A good way to ensure your contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals is to ‘eat a rainbow’ at each meal.

Eating brightly coloured fruit and vegetables can keep you fit and healthy and protect against certain cancers, arthritis, heart disease, cataracts and even premature ageing. So don’t just eat your greens, make sure you eat your yellows, reds, oranges and purples too.

Check out our recent blog post with some fantastic ideas for healthy comfort food to keep you warm this Autumn!

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