Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Immunity Boosting Foods

The romanticism of the rains lasts only till the first viral flu of the season hits you. Then all the joy rides, rain dances and chilly winds are quickly traded in for a mug of hot soup and warm blankets. Wouldn't it be lovely if one could enjoy the best of an Indian monsoon without falling sick? Well, lets look at the your kitchen and see how you can eat healthy through the season.

Research has proven that certain natural foods contain a combination of nutrients that effectively boosts the immune system when combined with adequate sleep and regular physical activity. Typically fruits and vegetables with a vivid colour have higher concentrations of phytonutrients; pigments that prevent and combat diseases, boost the immunity and protect against free radicals. Regular and adequate consumption of fresh produce is a smart way to avoid falling sick at all.

One of the simplest ways to strengthen the body against virus and germs is to drink a cup of tea. The antioxidants in your tea are immunity boosters. Add spices like ginger, lemon and pepper to fortify the health quotient in your teacup! Even herbal tea is great.

Start your day with Oats, they contain phytonutrients that activate white blood cells responsible for fighting virus, bacteria and other germs. A bowl of cooked oats is a filling breakfast, open to both sweet and savoury flavourings. But use oats in other ways as well, use to thicken soups and stews, bake into cookies, sprinkle over crumbles or in granola bars to get the best of this ingredient. Simmer oats in a tomato-garlic-onion mix sautéed in olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.

To beat back a cold, everyone recommends a chicken noodle soup. But to avoid getting sick in the first place, try going for the tomato soup. Studies have found that the lycopene in tomatoes acts as an antioxidant, helping white blood cells resist the damaging effects of free radicals. Add a cup of tomato soup to your evening routine to unwind and get your fix of warmth and health.

An obvious way to do all of the above is to put a salad together but raw vegetables might not be so appealing. Try steaming or stir frying your favourite vegetables and topping it with easy to make, home-made dressings inspired by Asian cuisine and flavoured with rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, sesame, soy, chilli and ginger. Herbs and spices like chilli and ginger are more than just flavouring agents; they are powerhouses of nutrition; delicious and easy to incorporate into daily meals.

Garlic and onions are flavorful healers that contain numerous antiseptic and immunity boosting compounds. As an added plus, garlic helps to open clogged sinuses. It's ironic that black pepper -- the spice best known for making you sneeze -- can ward off the sniffles. Black peppercorns are high in piperine, a compound known for its anti-fever and pain-relieving qualities. Besides soothing a scratchy throat, ginger targets the virus that causes colds while also reducing cough. Ginger is also a natural pain and fever reducer and a mild sedative.

An immune system bolstered with the goodness of anti-oxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables is a strong defense against the common cold and flu.

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