It’s definitely Winter. That means lots of sniffles, sneezles and wheezles as A.A. Milne once wrote. If you want to stop your sneezles turning into phleezles? Read on.
- Vitamin C. Humans and guinea pigs are the only mammals which cannot synthesize their own Vitamin C. Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and since we cannot store it we need to take it on board daily to fight the attacks of viruses. Vitamin C needs to be taken in a consistent fashion though and when ingested daily it reduces inflammation in the body. Best sources – citrus fruits, red peppers, kiwi fruits and all berries are Vitamin C loaded.
- Vitamin E. This is a fat soluble vitamin which is absorbed into cell membranes to protect them from damage. It also is important if you are having vaccinations as it helps the immune system respond more efficiently to the injected virus. Best sources: Spinach, nuts, seeds, avocados, fish, plant oils and broccoli.
- Zinc. Diets low in zinc suffer compromised immune system functioning. Zinc supports the development of bacteria fighting white blood cells and can be particularly important for the elderly. best sources: Beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and lentils
- Beta-carotene. The orange colour of foods is attributable to beta-carotene but the orange colour is cleverly ‘hidden’ in foods rich in chlorophyll which is why leafy greens like spinach are less well known for their beta-carotene strength. Beta-carotene is not an essential nutrient in itself but it is converted into Vitamin A (retinol) in the body which is essential for healthy mucus membranes and a strong immune system. Best Sources: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and spinach.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. They can protect the lungs from respiratory infections. Best Sources: flaxseeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon and oily fish like mackerel or herring.