Powerful Immunity-Boosting Foods for Flu-Free Days
By Charlotte Mei
Jan 29, 2020

Powerful Immunity-Boosting Foods for Flu-Free Days

What you put on your plate is important in keeping you strong and healthy, especially in flu season. From green veg to ginger and garlic, we've got some powerfully simple foods to keep your immunity strong and functioning well to ward off colds and flus. It's time for a grocery trip!

Here are key foods to include in your diet:

1.     Colourful Fruit & Vegetables

We all know that fruit and vegetables are chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. However, many people tend to stick to eating the same few, meaning they’re not getting a wide variety of nutrients. Aim to eat a selection of fruits and vegetables of different colours daily. Usually, darker and more vibrant foods contain more antioxidants. 

Go for at least one serving of vegetables at every meal, and one serving of fruits 1-2 times a day. 

Here are some ideas: 

Vegetables

- Broccoli

- Capsicum (red, yellow, orange, green)

- Dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. kai lan, chye sim, sweet potato leaves, Chinese spinach)

- Pumpkin

- Purple cabbage

- Sweet potato

Tip: don’t overcook them so as to preserve the nutrients!

  • Try out these great vegetable recipes

Fruits

- Red dragon fruit

- Kiwi (green, golden)

- Pomegranate

- Papaya

- Mango

- Plum

Tip: where possible, eat the skin too as that’s where a lot of the antioxidants are found! What’s more, it’s additional fibre which is great for your gut too.

2.     Lean Protein

A warm brothy ginseng chicken for any cold comfort 

Proteins are essential constituents of all cells, and are required in the diet for the growth and repair of the body. On top of that, many protein-rich foods contain zinc, a mineral that helps maintain immune function. These include lean cuts of beef, pork, and chicken, as well as seafood (particularly oysters), eggs and legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils).

  • Try out quick and tasty egg recipes here

And how about making a warm bowl of chicken tinola or ginseng chicken? Remember to remove the skins of the chicken to keep the meal light and low in saturated fats. 

3.     Ginger & Garlic

An aromatic invigorating ginger turmeric and carrot soup that's perfect to perk you up 

Many turn to these household ingredients when they feel a cold coming on. They are well known for their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, however researchers conclude that more studies have to be done to determine whether these ingredients can help to prevent colds.

That said, it doesn’t hurt to add some into your diet as they both add a nice spark of flavour!

Garlic:

Aside from using it in stir-frys, smash whole garlic cloves to add into your pasta sauce or tray bake, or finely mince ginger to add to your salads. 

Ginger:

Add whole slices with your steam fish, grate some fresh ginger into hot water for some ginger tea, or make a comforting bowl of carrot turmeric soup!

Psst: Turmeric also contains a compound called curcumin which has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties too. Add some black pepper into the soup to increase the absorption of curcumin into the body! 

These are just a few ways to ensure your diet provides you the nutrients you need for a strong immune system. Most importantly, remember to practice these tips throughout the year, and not only when you feel a cold coming on. Your immune system isn’t a switch, and it needs consistent care. At the end of the day, a diet of variety and balance, as well as adequate rest and exercise is key for good health. Stay healthy!

Charlotte Mei is a nutritionist and self-taught cook based in Singapore. She frequently cooks up nutritious, delicious dishes - and the occasional indulgent treat too. Follow her on all her socials at @thecharlottemei .

  • All health content on asianfoodnetwork.com is provided for general information only, and not intended as medical advice to diagnose, treat or cure. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. 
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