The immune system is the body’s first line of defence and helps it resist infection and serious illness.
If the immune system is under par we become unwell which is why we tend to get coughs and colds when we feel run down. The immune system also protects us against more serious conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
Many foods and spices contain disease-fighting nutrients that boost our immune system and protect us against a host of ailments. Read on to see how to keep yourself in tiptop condition.
This winter vegetable contains three groups of protective phytochemicals (cancer-protecting glucosinolates, bioflavonoids which stimulate the immune system and sterols that absorb cholesterol from food).
These chemicals also facilitate the transport of oxygen to the tissues, support immunity, aid liver function, play a part in controlling blood fat levels and help the body release and use the energy in food.
Curly kale promotes health in the heart, nerves and muscles and protects against high blood pressure, vascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
A tomato dip is perfect for parties. Tomatoes are packed with antioxidants and improve the immune response while helping maintain energy levels.
This makes tomatoes a good choice for anyone suffering from conditions such as prostate cancer and heart disease. Tomatoes also boost resistance to infectious diseases and encourage healing.
You’ll find a bowl of nuts in most houses at this time of year. It is the combination of vitamin E and selenium that gives this nut its special immune-enhancing properties.
Each of these antioxidants improves the performance of the other to boost the immune system. Selenium activates an enzyme which inhibits the formation of the free radicals that damage DNA. It also protects against infection and suppresses tumour growth.
This guilt-free breakfast is a natural detoxifier and acts on the digestive system and liver.
Grapefruit is an effective pick-me-up when you are lacking energy. It also aids healing by strengthening bones, blood vessels and other tissues. The soluble fibre in grapefruit helps lower cholesterol and other blood fats. It binds with excess cholesterol and bile acids and promotes their excretion from the body.
A prime ingredient of leftover stuffing, sage is an antiseptic which improves the health of mucous membranes. It can also reduce perspiration.
This colourful vegetable has a high vitamin C content and contains powerful protective antioxidants that increase defence against degenerative disease including the eye condition age-related macular degeneration.
The cook’s most popular flavour enhancer is one of the most effective natural antimicrobials stimulating the production of white blood cells and acting against a range of bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses.
It fights various gastrointestinal infections such as dysentery and typhoid. It contains a volatile oil mostly excreted through the lungs that makes it an excellent remedy for respiratory disorders such as bronchitis and whooping cough.
Garlic acts on the circulatory system to reduce the level of blood fat and cholesterol and over time will lower blood
Spinach salad is a healthy addition to any buffet table. The leaves are high in folate which is vital for the healthy development of the foetus. It makes spinach an important vegetable for women before and during pregnancy.
Spinach is also rich in vitamins A, C and K helping protect the skin and stimulate the immune system. The
carotenoids are powerful antioxidants protecting against cancer particularly of the lung, breast and cervix. They also look after the eyes and aid liver function.
Oranges and Satsumas
The high vitamin C content in oranges helps prevent high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis. They are useful for the management of gastrointestinal disorders.