I used to be one of those people that always had a cold. For years, from September to March, I was ill nearly all of the time. With a few summer colds thrown in. It was rarely anything worse than a bad cold or tonsillitis, but it was bloody annoying never quite feeling my best.
For the last couple of years, I’ve barely been ill. I’ve had the odd sniffle, and quite a nasty chest infection this winter, but that’s it. Most of the time I feel amazing. I haven’t done anything extreme, and I never take vitamins. Nor do I get enough sleep. But, I think this sudden immune system improvement is down to lifestyle. I eat well, and I exercise.
When I say I eat well, I don’t mean we diet, or that we avoid fat and sugar, and we certainly don’t buy into any mystic superfood nonsense. We have a takeaway when we fancy it (all of the time!), we eat big fatty burgers and lots of cake and chocolate. That doesn’t sound like we eat well at all, does it? We do, just in a normal way. Our meals are packed with fresh ingredients and loads of vegetables, and we eat a varied diet, fitting everything we need in, by cooking from scratch with tasty ingredients. Without restricting anything.
If you look online, you’ll find loads of lists of things that can boost your immune system, and there is no doubt that diet can play a huge part. But, often, the foods mentioned are horrible, or you’re given no clues of what to do with these basic ingredients.
Vitamin C doesn’t just give your immune system a little boost; it also makes you feel much better if you do get sick. However, it probably doesn’t really. While Vitamin C helps maintain your bones, muscles and blood vessels, and our moms always prescribe orange juice for a cold, medical research says it probably won’t help your cold at all.
But, on the other hand, if you think it’ll make you feel better, it probably will! Even if it’s all in your head. Do you think it still works if it’s in a cake? I suspect so, and you’ll get a lovely little sugar rush.
Most of us think that citrus fruits have more vitamin C than anything else and reach for the orange juice as soon as we start to feel sniffly. But, red peppers actually have twice as much. I love peppers; we put them in our fakeaways and lots of pasta dishes among other things.
Sprouts are amazing. I love them. They are one of the few vegetables that are alive. Not in the sense that they’ll talk to you, but, they do continue to develop nutrients once they are picked. By the time you eat them, they are filled with nutrients and vitamins. I love to stir-fry them in meals.
I love spinach. I’d eat it all of the time. It’s also filled with vitamin C and A, as well as beta-carotene, which can help your body fight infection. To get the most from your spinach, cook it lightly. It’s amazing in a fish stew!
Turmeric is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory. While this is great for dealing with injuries and conditions such as arthritis, it can also help with chest infections which are common with colds. I use turmeric in most of my curries.
What do you do to boost your immunity? Does diet play a big part?