Immune System Boosting Food

Boosting our children’s immune system should be a priority. Cold and hence, flu season usually begins from the end of October until the end of April and this year’s flu season (unfortunately) is being projected to be one of the most severe and widespread in a decade especially amongst children.

In order to prevent illness or at least minimise symptoms doctors recommend an annual flu shot at least two weeks before the season begins, as well as frequent hand-washing, getting adequate sleep and moderate exercise. Another important step you can take in strengthening your natural immune system is through a diet dense in protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in whole, unprocessed foods.

Boosting our children’s immune system should be a priority as their immune system is immature leading to multiple viruses and/or infections each year. Schools have unfortunately been highlighted as contamination pools during the covid era who coupled with the parents workplaces lead to our children being overly exposed to bacteria and viruses. 

While we tend to pay more attention to our health during cold and flu season, maintaining a healthy immune system should be a priority all year. If that has not been the case far right now is a good place to start!

citrous

Citrus fruit- Vitamin C may not be as useful as we thought in preventing colds, but studies have shown that taking it at the first sign of a cold can help reduce the severity by about a day. Try oranges, grapefruit, lemons or limes in your cooking to stock up on vitamin C. If you are not a fan of citrus fruit there are other foods that are rich in vitamin C, including kiwi, Brussels sprouts, colored bell peppers or fresh herbs such as coriander, chives, thyme, parsley and basil.

oats

Oats – Oats contain a fibre called beta-glucan, which is great for lowering your cholesterol and boosting your immune system. 

Greek yoghurt

Greek yoghurt– Yogurt with live and active cultures like Greek yogurt stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead. Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with this vitamin. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.

Berries

Berries- Contain a type of flavonoid called anthocyanin, which has antioxidant properties that can help boost a person’s immune system. Studies have shown that flavonoids play an essential role in the respiratory tract’s immune defense system. Research indicates that people who ate foods rich in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection, or common cold, than those who did not.

You can combine yoghurt with oat, blueberries and drizzle some honey on top for the ideal immune system boosting breakfast 

eggs

Eggs – Adequate protein intake is important to support immune response. Eggs are also high in biological value of protein as they contain all 9 essential amino acids not produced by the body. They also contain various nutrients such vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E that the body needs for proper immune functioning. 

greens

Greens– such as spinach or broccoli contain large amounts of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant. You have to be careful though not to overcook them as this might lead to loss of their nutritional value. 

Food that harm the immune system 

Caffeinated beverages such as soft drinks and excessive coffee affects the quality of sleep that further impairs the immune response and one’s ability to fight off disease. To minimise these effects, limit caffeinated drinks to no more than two to three per day, and consume them during the first half of the day.

Many ready-to-cook packaged foods contain chemicals and compounds not naturally found in food like artificial colors, flavorings, preservatives, and/or added sugars to make them shelf-stable or to improve taste and appearance. Any of these can irritate the body and exacerbate existing inflammation.

At TheGoodSnack we take very seriously what we feed you and your kids.

Costas Chari
Clinical dietitian-Nutritionist