1. Mushrooms: Mushrooms contain beneficial compounds known as beta-glucans, which stimulate the body’s immune system. They have been shown to protect against cancer, bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens. All mushrooms contain these beneficial compounds but levels are especially high in maitake, shitake and oyster mushrooms. There are so many ways to increase your intake of mushrooms. They can be added to an omelette, stir-fry dishes and risottos or lightly sautéd as part of a cooked breakfast.
2. Butternut squash, red or orange peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes: These foods are good sources of beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, essential for keeping the mucous membranes in the nose, throat and lungs intact and healthy, so they can act as a barrier to cold bugs.
3. Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits are high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps to reduce the severity and length of winter colds.
4. Live yoghurts: Live yoghurt contains friendly bacteria. These friendly bacteria help boost the production of antibodies and help to defend against pathogenic bacteria. Studies have shown that eating a cup of low-fat yoghurt each day can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25%. Add to your breakfast muesli or smoothies.
5. Ginger: Ginger contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes that target rhinoviruses — which are the most common family of cold viruses as well as substances that help suppress coughing. Ginger is also a natural pain and fever reducer. To make fresh ginger tea peel a thumb-sized piece of ginger, slice, and steep in hot water with a slice of lemon for 5 minutes.
6. Garlic: Garlic contains allicin, an anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent. When you crush or chop garlic, allicin is released, giving garlic its distinctive pungent odour. Indeed, allicin is so potent that it has been proven effective against the most antibiotic-resistant strains of MRSA. Cooking garlic destroys some of this compound so garlic is best eaten raw. Try snacking on garlic dips and spreads such as hummus or guacamole. If you are not a fan of raw garlic you should let garlic stand for ten minutes after chopping or crushing before you cook with it, as this helps to keep allicin intact.
7. Turmeric: Turmeric milk It has been used as an Ayurvedic medicine for many thousands of years to support sore throats, colds, flus, stomach aches and skin problems. Its benefits are due to a compound in turmeric called curcumin which is has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
8. Green and white tea: Green tea contains antioxidants which reduce inflammation. If you have a cold drinking hot drinks can also help thin mucus.
9. Coconut: Coconut is a natural anti-microbial helping to fight bacteria and viruses.
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