Want to stay healthy and fit this winter? Include these 5 foods in your diet | fitness | Hindustan Times
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Want to stay healthy and fit this winter? Include these 5 foods in your diet

To fine-tune your defenses against viruses, now is the time to take advantage of foods and natural substances that boost your immunity.

fitness Updated: Sep 11, 2017 09:48 IST
Ginger is one of a number of options that boost your immune defenses.
Ginger is one of a number of options that boost your immune defenses.(iStock.com)

In the wake of a summer season in which temperatures bounced up and down, it could be that your immune system is ill-prepared to face the wide variety of ear, nose and throat infections that emerge with cooler weather in September-October. To fine-tune your defenses against viruses, now is the time to take advantage of foods and natural substances that boost your immunity.

Ginger

Ginger is another option for beefing up your immunity. It can be consumed fresh, in grated form in cooking or as an infusion, like cinnamon which also stimulates the immune system.

Grapefruit seed extract

An anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, grapefruit seed extract can combat 800 varieties of virus and bacteria. Make sure that the product is based on seeds of citrus paradisi variety. Taken in liquid form without alcohol, it is effective as a preventive and a treatment for all types of infections including colds, ear nose and throat infections in general, flu, bronchial complaints, and a tonic for chronic fatigue and a weakened immune system.

Whole fruit should be preferred over juice, which has more sugar and less fibre. (Shutterstock)

Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C

Before reaching for vitamin supplements, it is a good idea to boost your daily intake of foods that are rich in vitamin C, which is an antiviral that is not naturally produced by the body. Fruit such as lemons, oranges, grapefruit and kiwis are well-known sources of vitamin C as are blackcurrants and red berries. Whole fruit should be preferred over juice, which has more sugar and less fibre. With regard to vegetables, vitamin C is found in broccoli, turnips, cabbage, peppers, fennel and spinach.

Royal jelly

A honey bee secretion, royal jelly is used to feed queen bees, which is how it got its name. Among other benefits, it stimulates and strengthens immune defenses. Another apiculture product, propolis, a resinous mixture can be taken as a preventive (colds, pharyngitis or laryngitis) and as a stimulant (for a period of 20 days), or in cases of sore throat, in pill or spray form.

Echinacea

Echinacea is a plant used by Native American tribes for the prevention of colds, as well as ear, nose and throat infections. A stimulant for the immune system it can be consumed in the form of root extract, fluid extract, juice, capsules, and teas (1g of root per cup, six times a day), decoctions and tinctures. It is available from organic groceries and other specialist stores.