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Everyday immunity-boosting foods

Jenna Maxwell

Contributor

With COVID-19 officially being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, many of us are left wondering if there is anything we can do. Unfortunately, there is no miracle food or supplement to prevent the virus, but by boosting your immune system with the right foods, you might be able to prepare your body to fight off the bug.

BREAKFAST

Simple Smoothies

A smoothie is a great thing to have in the morning as they can provide vitamins, antioxidants and energy. Many people don’t bother with them as they can be time-consuming but with a lot of the population now working from home, now is a great time to experiment with the blender. Kale and spinach are perfect to use as they both provide a powerful antioxidant and are packed with calcium, folate and fibre to boost immunity. What’s even better is that once they’re blended in with fruit such as mango, kiwi or pineapple, you won’t be able to taste the greens.

Pumpkin Seed Granola and yogurt

Granola is a firm breakfast favourite for a reason. It’s crunchy, tasty and full of fibre and protein. Try throwing in a handful of yummy pumpkin seeds that contain three milligrams of zinc – an immune boosting mineral. Yogurts are also a great breakfast choice – with granola or without. They can be high in protein, calcium, vitamins and probiotics which are all good for boosting immunes and enhancing good bacteria in the gut.

Fruit Salad

With all the panic buying of toilet paper and pasta, fresh fruit and vegetables don’t seem to be affected as badly. Take advantage of this by loading up on fruit each morning. Citrus fruits are ideal as they are rich in vitamins and plant compounds, a good source of fibre and even contain nutrients that boost heart health. Combine grapefruit or orange with delicious mango, kiwi, blueberries or strawberries (or whatever else you have) and you have a tasty, vitamin rich breakfast.

LUNCH

Soups

Just like smoothies, soups are a great way to pack a lot of immune boosting foods into one meal. Zinc-rich foods such as spinach and kale can be thrown into any combination. The best thing about soups is that you can make them out of any leftover meat and vegetables you have. You might want to try adding coconut oil to your next batch as it contains lauric acid and caprylic acid which can help ward off bacterial and viral infections, garlic is also the perfect ingredient as well as adding flavour it can boost the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your blood steam and turmeric which is renowned for fighting inflammation.

Satisfying Salads

Salads can be boring but a really good way to get any nutrients and vitamins into one meal. Adding oily fish such as salmon, tuna or mackerel are a great source of healthy fats, in particular omega 3. Fish is also a great source of zinc that helps your immune system repair damaged cells. Broccoli and red peppers can be great additions to any salad to add colour and flavours. Broccoli is packed with vitamins A, C and E as well as antioxidants and fibre and red peppers contain more vitamin C than citrus fruit and broccoli.

Sandwiches

If you’re like the rest of the nation and working from home, sometimes a quick sandwich might be all you have time for. But, sandwiches are great for packing in vitamins and more good food to boost your immunity. Salmon and avocado made delicious, simple sandwiches as do tuna and sweetcorn. 

DINNER

Quick Stir-fries

For an easy, mid-week meal, stir-fries are perfect. For a quick meal, you can fry up some chicken, prawns or tofu along with coconut oil – with antibacterial and antiviral properties, shiitake mushrooms – known for strengthening the immune system, green cabbage – packed with nutrients and vitamins C and K and coriander – known to sweep up toxins and sesame seeds – a good source of calcium, magnesium and zinc.

Hearty Stews

There’s nothing like a hearty stew for comfort food – something we all need right now. But you can still have your favourite dish with an extra shot of vitamins. Making sure you add garlic, red peppers and even turmeric and broccoli will give this classic dish some extra immune-boosting goodness.

One Pot Meals

If you’re trying to juggle working at home with childcare, a one pot meal for the whole family will be a sanity-saver right now. Fortunately, there are several ways you can ensure that your dish contains the right vitamins and minerals.

Curried cod is an easy-to-prepare dish with ginger to help your body ward off germs, vitamin-rich chickpeas and toxin busting coriander. Cod is also high in vitamins and minerals that are essential to bodily functioning.

Rice dishes such as risotto and paella are good options for a one-pot meal as you can add vitamin-rich red peppers, garlic and spices and well as zinc-heavy prawns. 

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