If ever there was a time to to keep our immune system healthy and strong, it’s now! Here, nutritionist By Sue Bedford MSc Nutritional Therapist shares some of her top tips.
Boost Vitamin D levels
We have been very luck of late, with so much beautiful sunshine, but for those who haven’t had the luxury of outdoor space, it is important to keep up your vitamin D3. Good sources of vitamin D include: wild salmon, sardines, eggs, tuna, shiitake mushrooms and some cereals. Try and squeeze in a walk each day in the fresh air.
Boost Zinc levels
Zinc is an important mineral which boosts the immune system and also assists in wound healing. Good sources of zinc include eggs, poultry, crab, brazil nuts, lobster, soya beans, oysters to name a few.
Boost Vitamin C levels
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin (meaning that it is lost in the urine, not stored in the body so needs to be replaced). It has a number of important functions including: Wound healing, supporting a healthy immune system as well as maintaining connective tissue which supports major organs and systems. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps to counteract some of the free radicals that enter our bodies. As our bodies do not make or store vitamin C, plenty of foods rich in this vitamin need to be included in the diet.
Fruits with the highest sources of vitamin C include
- Citrus fruits and juices, such as orange and grapefruit
- Kiwi fruit
- Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
- Cantaloupe melons
Vegetables with the highest sources of vitamin C include
- Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
- Spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, and other leafy greens
- Tomatoes and tomato juice
- Peppers (red and green)
Why not try making my immune boosting mixture
Lemons are abundant in vitamin C. Ginger has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-toxic properties. It is used to help prevent the flu and colds.
- 1 large lemon
- 200 grams of Honey
- 1 portion fresh ginger (around ½ inch in length)
- Peel the ginger and then chop the lemon and ginger into small pieces and place into a blender.
- Add the honey and mix.
- Place the mixture in a glass jar and tighten lid. Keep mixture in the fridge.
- Adults take two tablespoons per day and children one teaspoon per day.
Why not start your day off with this ‘zest for life’ immune boosting orange, carrot, ginger and turmeric juice?
The oranges are full of the antioxidant vitamin c and also contain folate and other b vitamins (b vitamins are important for the nervous system and help reduce low mood too)- to name a few benefits!), the carrots are packed with beta carotene and also add some more vitamin c to zap those free radicals! the ginger and turmeric contain anti -inflammatory properties.
- Peel and chop 2 carrots and 2 oranges along with 1/2 inch of fresh ginger.
- Place into a juicer/ blender with a handful of ice cubes, a splash of sparkling water and 1 teaspoon of turmeric. Juice and enjoy!
How about an Immune boosting Shiitake Mushroom and Pak Choi broth for lunch? to enhance vitamin D levels.
Shiitake mushrooms are low in calories, a good source of fibre, contain important amino acids, B vitamins and some minerals. They also contain sterols and lipids linked to boosting the immune system and lowering cholesterol. These very tasty mushrooms also provide a great vitamin D boost as they contain D2, D3 and D4 forms. Pak Choi are an excellent source of vitamin A and C and are a good source of manganese and zinc… and then we’ve got the ginger too..
Ingredients needed (3 portions – double up as appropriate)
- 8 shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and thinly cut
- 4 Pak choy, washed and cut vertically in half
- 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
- 3 garlic, grated
- 2 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and grated
- Pinch of Sea salt
- 200 g Chinese noodles
- 700 ml of vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp of Olive oil
Here is how to make it
- In a saucepan, cook the Chinese noodles according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
- Use the same saucepan to bring the vegetable stock to the boil and place aside.
- In a wok over a medium heat, heat the Olive oil and add the garlic and ginger, cook for roughly about 1-2 mins.
- Add the shiitake mushrooms and cook until soft.
- Then, add the Pak Choi and cook until soft, but still crunchy.
- Add rice vinegar and a sprinkle of salt and continuously to stir for another 1-2 mins. Adjust the seasoning, if needed.
- Into serving bowls, first add the noodles, then the vegetable stock. Finally top the bowl with Pak Choi and Shiitake mushrooms.