Nutrition isn’t just about eating a healthy, balanced diet, particularly at this time of year – it is much more than that. And whilst that is incredibly important, we are now well into flu-season on top of a global pandemic, so you need to incorporate a number of other foods into your diet to help keep you on top of your game.
Here are five foods that can help boost your immune system, which will in turn, keep your workout in check.
Turmeric is recognised for its number of seriously impressive health benefits and one we should all use much more often than we do.
Famously, it is known for its anti-inflammatory and healing benefits, but more recently, the spice has been recognised for its positive impacts on the immune system, too – which is exactly what we could all do with a bit more of right now.
In fact, research has shown that turmeric boosts immune cell activity, enhances antibody responses and most importantly, helps regulate a healthy immune system.
Packed full of antioxidants, turmeric can be added to your diet in many ways. But to really feel its benefits and to get the very most out of it, it’s best to consume it alongside black pepper as some nutrients in turmeric are not well absorbed naturally.
Ollie’s top tip: Sprinkle on top of smoothie bowls.
It’s distinct taste and fragrance adds character to dishes, but its benefits to the immune system are why ginger deserves a place in your daily diet.
Ginger has long been used in traditional and alternative medicines. It contains a natural oil called gingerol, which gives it its medicinal properties, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
As well as this, ginger has been known to ease cold and flu symptoms, such as a sore throat and relieve nausea, which we are all more susceptible to at this time of year.
Ollie’s top tip: Add to hot water and lemon.
Something many of us will have in our fridge already, yogurt is packed with various minerals and vitamins, such as calcium, protein and B vitamins, all of which are vital for general health and wellbeing.
Many yogurts are filled with vitamin D, which has been known to reduce the risk of catching illnesses such as the common cold and the flu.
But those with high probiotic contents are also beneficial to the immune system. Yogurts can also help to reduce symptoms such as inflammation, infections and gut disorders.
Ollie’s top tip: Add fruit or granola.
Kale has long been hailed for its health benefits. This leafy dark green vegetable can be added to any meal for the perfect health kick.
Some of the biggest benefits of kale come from its high iron, potassium and vitamin K contents, which promote general wellbeing.
Kale is also rich in vitamin A, which is what gives it such high immune boosting properties and is key for a functional and fighting immune response. The human body cannot produce the vitamin itself and must be absorbed through diet, so eating foods such as kale is particularly beneficial.
Ollie’s top tip: If you’re not keen on the taste, add to smoothies or soups.
Often overlooked or forgotten about, sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients that not only fight off infections, but also maintain a healthy immune system and regulate responses.
Sunflower seeds also contain vitamin E and zinc, which also plays a number of vital roles in the body, including maintaining a healthy immune system. Zinc can be lost when exercising so ensuring it is kept topped up through diet is vital for ensuring a strong immune system.
Ollie’s top tip: Add to smoothie bowls or salads.
Those are just five foods that can help boost our immune systems. And with the current coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, it is more important than ever before to ensure that we are as healthy as can be.
These foods will also help aid our workouts, keeping us energised and better equipped to exercise.