Winter is well and truly here and blimey it’s cold!  At this time of year when everyone seems to sniffle and the weather gets us down, it’s a good idea to get a health head start.  Aside from eating a wholefood plant-based diet, there are a few more natural ways to boost your immune system even further. As they say, prevention is far better than cure!

The cold weather and pre-Christmas frenzy often means our health suffers, stay energised all winter by eating more of these powerful foods that support immune system function…

Immune System Saviours

  1. It might seem the most obvious, but Vitamin C is crucial to a thriving immune system! It’s the premier vitamin for immune function. Vitamin C helps protect cells against damage – your best friend when you’re coming down with the sniffles.  Try drinking warm lemon water in the mornings, eating more citrus fruits or adding some vitamin-C rich Baobab powder to your smoothies or porridge.
  2. Turmeric has been having a superfood moment recently, popping up on health-food menus all over. Far from being a faddy ingredient, turmeric has been used for years and years.  It contains curcumin which countless research studies prove is anti-inflammatory. It’s so powerful, it’s often used in treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as improving the immune response.
  3. Garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. Numerous studies have shown that eating garlic regularly reduces the likelihood of catching a cold.  Add fresh raw garlic to your sauces and dressings, or make some delicious fresh garlicky hummus.
  4. Mushrooms have been a diet booster for many centuries, particularly for supporting a healthy immune system. Studies have shown mushrooms to increase the volume and activity of white blood cells, making them more effective. When you have an infection try adding shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms to your cooking or try a comforting mushroom latte.
  5. Ginger is famous for its knack at reducing indigestion, nausea and calming the digestive tract. As well as being an effective antioxidant, ginger is anti-inflammatory and acts as a decongestant for clearing sinuses, nose and throat.
  6. A GIANT green juice made with leafy greens will give you a boost of antioxidants such as Vitamin E that is important in maintaining immune system function. Juices are a quick and easy way to get a hefty dose of nutrients all in one go! Incorporating more vegetable juices into your diet as liquid nutrition is a great way to ensure your diet is optimal.
  7. Vitamin D is one of the main energy sources for our white blood cells, which defend against pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Our bodies can make vitamin D from sunlight, so it’s important to get outdoors.

More than just food…

Whilst there are some great ways to support your immune system through nutrition, make sure you are also looking after yourself in other areas too.  Aside from diet, pay attention to your body.  If you’re feeling run down or tired, schedule in some self-care and get an extra bit of rest. There is a really strong link between stress and immunity, so staying calm and positive is as important as ever during winter.

Here’s to a healthy winter season 🙂

The Vegan Edit - Thanks for reading

(This post originally appeared as a guest post for Raw Press Co – You can find it here)

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