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Expert’s 7 best foods to boost immunity this winter – rich in ‘crucial’ vitamins

Throughout the winter months we are all far more vulnerable to seasonal illnesses such as colds and flu. There are a number of ways to protect yourself from these such as good hygiene and taking supplements. Diet could also be key.

Medical writer at NiceRx, Navin Khosla, spoke to Express.co.uk about the best foods to boost immunity.

He said: “The cold winter months are often associated with an increase of the common cold, flu and many other illnesses – particularly respiratory related.

“These can become more common due to multiple factors, however, the main ones being lower temperatures and reduced access and production of certain vitamins that are crucial for the maintenance of your immune system.

“Therefore, ensuring that you keep warm and replace these vitamins is crucial for staying healthy throughout this time of year.

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“Supplementing your body with the right foods can help boost your immune system and maintain energy levels throughout the day.

“The shorter, colder days see less access to vitamin D from daylight, therefore replacing this through food is important.

“Foods such as dates, sweet potatoes and salmon are good sources, alongside drinks such as orange juice and dairy or plant-based milk which are fortified with Vitamin D.

“Vitamin D is crucial for muscle and bone health, therefore, keeping these levels up is important for maintaining a good quality of health.

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“Vitamin C is also important for boosting your immune system, helping protect cells, bone and skin health, therefore, when your body is at a greater risk of catching an illness, keeping these levels up is crucial.

“Vitamin C can be found in a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, so adding these into your diet can be beneficial – citrus fruits are high in vitamin C as well as green vegetables like broccoli and kale.”

He listed seven of the “best” foods for the immune system.

Dates

Fewer daylight hours in winter means our bodies require extra vitamin D in order to support our immune system and prevent fatigue. Dates are rich in vitamin D making them an essential food to help prevent falling ill this winter.

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Spinach

Our immunity tends to take a dip during the winter months. Packed with vitamins B6 and C as well as magnesium, adding spinach to your winter diet will improve your body’s defence against germs, support immune system functions and reduce susceptibility to illnesses.

Salmon

Salmon is rich in omega-3, an essential nutrient to keep you healthy in winter. Omega-3 helps to increase airflow to the lungs and therefore protects the body from colds and respiratory infections.

Broccoli

Vitamin C is an immune-boosting super nutrient. Unlike other vitamins, the body cannot produce it, so incorporating foods high in the vitamin into your diet is vital in helping boost your health in winter.

A 90 gram serving of broccoli contains more than 100 percent of your body’s vitamin C needs and can be enjoyed cooked or raw, making it easy to incorporate into your winter diet.

Sweet potatoes

Rich in vitamins C and D, sweet potatoes can provide a boost in energy and help support processes in the immune system.

Full of antioxidants, sweet potato’s nutritional value outweighs that of ordinary white potatoes and can be easily incorporated into lots of winter dishes.

Ginger

Packed with medicinal properties, ginger can be used as a home remedy to help ease the symptoms of a cold. A popular ingredient in many holiday dishes, this winter powerhouse food is a natural way to help your body fight off and recover from winter illnesses.

Kale

Brimming with vitamin A and C, kale is an essential winter food. The superfood has high immune-supporting nutrient contents, which will help to bolster your immune system to ensure your body can perform optimally and recover quickly from winter illnesses.

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