It's the season for sniffles—but your choice of food can help you fight back.

Think twice about orange juice

It contains vitamin C, but its sugar content could be more of a hindrance than a help. One study found that drinking a glass of orange juice curbed the effectiveness of immune-system cells for up to five hours.

Snack on peppers

For a good dose of vitamin C (essential for your immune system) up your fresh-pepper consumption instead—100g contains four times your recommended daily intake of the vitamin.

Indulge in some oysters

Zinc also supports the function of your immune system. In fact, a recent review of 17 trials found that taking zinc resulted in a shorter duration of cold symptoms. Oysters and sesame seeds are a rich source of the mineral.

Choose oily fish

Vitamin D is another nutrient that helps you fight infections, and it can be found in fish such as sardines and salmon. Don’t like fish? Another option is to go outdoors, as sunlight enables you to synthesise the vitamin yourself.

Go for garlic

The Ancient Egyptians recognised that this pungent bulb had health-giving qualities. Modern science now backs it up, with one recent study finding that garlic has antibacterial action against E-coli—a cause of stomach upset.

Enjoy some mushrooms

Many mushrooms contain special carbohydrates called beta-glucans, which are known to have immune-stimulating effects when consumed. Try some oyster or shiitake mushrooms in a quick stir-fry or soup.

Get some shut-eye

Good rest is just as important as good nutrition when it comes to keeping well. A review in the European Journal of Physiology revealed that a lack of sleep provokes a stress response, leading to inflammation and immunodeficiency. So turn in on time!

 

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