Healthy Foods That Fight Colds Away


Determined to eat more healthily in 2015, but all you can find in the supermarket are sickly-looking sprouts, stale spinach, limp lettuces, sprouting spuds and blueberries that look like they should be best left suffocating in their plastic containers? Don’t let an uninspiring selection of fresh foods stop you from your healthy-eating regime. It’s entirely possible to find seasonal, good-for-you food this time of year, packed with nutrients to ward off colds and keep you healthy during the long, cold winter months. So, without further ado, here are some easy-to-eat, easy-to-find everyday super foods to make healthy eating a breeze.

Broccoli

Packed with vitamin C, A and K as well as folate, this green powerhouse helps with bone health and provides a decent dose of sulforaphane, a type of isothiocyanate that’s believed to prevent cancer by helping to encourage the body’s detoxifying enzymes. We’ll have some a’ that, please.

Mushrooms

Don’t underestimate the power of the ‘shroom. No bathroom medical cabinet should be without these little gems. Not only do they increase the production of cytokines (cells that help fight off infection), they also support the immune system, thanks to the compounds called polysaccharides. Best nab a pack or two next time you’re in the supermarket, then eh? Pssst. The most potent cold and flu-fighting ‘shrooms are shitake, maitake and reishi.

Garlic

A great way to punch up the healing power of a dish is to add plenty of garlic. This flavoursome healer includes countless antiseptic and immunity-boosting compounds. What’s more, garlic helps open up the sinuses.

Berries

Most Brits don’t get enough fibre in their diet. Happily, berries are amazing sources of fibre, a compound that’s uber important for a healthy digestive system. Not only that, but berries can boost the body’s fat-burning capabilities, thus promoting weight loss. Raspberries have an incredible amount, more than other berries, and also contain ellagic acid – a compound with anti-cancer properties. Blueberries contain around half the fibre than raspberries, however, they’re loaded with anthocyanins and antioxidants that may help boost the brain’s memory function, keeping you sharper as you age.

Honey

Referred to by many as “liquid gold”, honey definitely lives up to its name and has several medicinal properties. We’re not talking the average pot you’d find in the supermarket. We’re talking raw honey – honey in its purest form, honey that hasn’t been filtered, strained or heated. The best kind is buckwheat honey, manuka honey or organic honey that’s rich in propolis, pollen and royal jelly. Not only does this natural sweetener soothe sore throats, it also offers antioxidant and antimicrobial properties to help ward off infections from viruses, bacteria and fungi. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 as well as vitamin C. What’s more, honey contains minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, calcium, copper, iron, manganese, sulphur, zinc and phosphate. A teaspoon a day will do the job nicely.

Yogurt

Eating just one pot of low-fat yogurt daily can decrease your chances of getting a cold, big time. That’s all thanks to the good bacteria, Lactobacillus reuteri, which has been found to thwart the reproduction of viruses that attack the body when we get poorly. Opt for organic yogurts that are rich in calcium which reduce your chances of getting osteoporosis. What’s more, yogurts are full of phosphorus, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, vitamin B12 and protein.

Spinach

Rich in important nutrients, such as vitamins A, C and K (not to mention fibre, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E), spinach is a simple, scrumptious food, teeming with folate, a water-soluble B vitamin that helps produce DNA and form healthy new cells which is especially important for mums-to-be. Even just a handful can make all the difference and contains slightly more than the recommended daily intake.

Tea

Most of us Brits enjoy a good ‘ol cuppa, right? The good news is drinking tea regularly can reduce your risk of getting Alzheimer’s, diabetes and some cancers, not to mention having healthier teeth and gums plus stronger bones. This is because tea’s teeming with antioxidants known as flavanoids. It doesn’t matter what type of tea you drink, just make sure it’s freshly brewed. Another idea is to keep a container of cold tea in the fridge, then add a squeeze of lemon juice – the citric acid and vitamin C in that squeeze of lemon, lime or orange helps preserve the flavanoids. Result.

Eggs

Eating a scrambled egg on toast for brekkie can leave you feeling more satisfied than eating, say, a bowl of cereal, meaning you might eat less at lunchtime. Regardless of whether or not you’re keeping tabs on your cholesterol, eating an egg every day can boost your healthy-eating plan. Did you know yolks contain lutein and zeaxanthin – two antioxidants that keep eyes healthy? Lutein and zeaxanthin can even reduce the risk of you getting age-related macular degeneration, the prime cause of blindness in people over 50. Furthermore, lutein may also help protect your skin from UV damage.

Beans

Beans are fabulous plant-based sources of iron, a mineral that’s responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to the cells in your body. Because your body can’t soak up the form of iron in plant-based foods as well as it can from the form found in beef and poultry, pair beans up with vitamin C-rich foods, like sweet potatoes or lemon juice, to boost your iron absorption. Beans are also packed with fibre – kidney beans and lentils are especially good. What’s more, this fibre type is soluble, benefitting blood cholesterol levels.

Oranges

Oranges contain a hefty dose of vitamin C, in fact, just one large orange (or a glass of orange juice), contains a full day’s dose. Vitamin C can drastically cut down anyone’s chance of getting a cold and is vital for producing white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infections. Vitamin C is also an almighty antioxidant that helps defend cells from free-radical damage and plays a key role in producing skin-firming collagen. Oranges are also high in fibre and folate. Besides oranges, other foods that contain high levels of vitamin C include sweet potatoes, butternut squash, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red peppers, to name just a few.

Nuts

Want to add a few years to your life? Go nuts! Nuts are loaded with protein, fibre and essential fatty acids. A golf-sized serving (around 30g) of unsalted nuts makes an energy-boosting snack and, unlike most other options, offers a nice blend of beneficial vitamins and minerals. There are loads of healthy nuts up for grabs, the best being pine nuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans and pistachios. It’s a good idea to steer clear of nuts packaged or roasted in oil – roasted nuts may have been heated in hydrogenated or omega-6 unhealthy fats.

Sweet Potatoes

These brilliantly orange vegetables provide a great source of beta-carotene and alpha, which the body converts into active forms of vitamin A. This is important for a healthy immune system, eyes and bones. Sweet potatoes are crammed with antioxidants, collecting disease-promoting free radicals. Moreover, sweet potatoes are also full of vitamin C and B6, potassium, manganese and lutein and zeaxanthin, making them one of the most nutritious veggies on the planet.