Our bodies are brilliant machines with the ability to heal, recover and adapt to our changing surroundings. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t occasionally fall victim to infection and other illnesses. To do the best for our bodies, it is important to ensure we eat the right foods to get all the vitamins and nutrients we need.
This simple meal plan can provide some great ideas for boosting your immune system for a healthier, happier you.
The old saying ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ may seem outdated but, in fact, it has never been more true. ‘Breakfast’ comes from the idea of ‘breaking the fast’ and is therefore essential for refuelling the body and preparing for the rest of the day. For a health-boosting breakfast, choose a bowl of porridge or muesli sprinkled with a generous handful of berries such as blueberries.
Blueberries are believed to reduce the risk of developing diseases and infections due to their phytonutrients. Phytonutrients can neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, hence their title as king of the superfoods.
Similarly, bilberries are a great choice for a healthy vision boost in the morning. These berries are often overlooked but were once famed for their vision-boosting properties during the war. Air fighter pilots used to snack on bilberry jam to improve their visual accuracy and recovery from glare during flights. Try sprinkling these over porridge with a drizzle of honey for sweetness.
As a mid-morning snack, before you reach for a Mars bar, why not consider a healthy snack for a great mini health boost. Once saved as cooking ingredients, nuts are now available in small snack packs for a great healthy treat. Almonds and peanuts are particularly beneficial for health as they contain essential nutrients such as fiber, iron, calcium and magnesium.
These key properties may help to boost the immune system and prevent inflammation. In addition, these mini miracle-workers contain high amounts of vitamin E which is believed to help reduce the risk of developing eye conditions such as catraracts. Remember to choose the unsalted variety to reap the full benefits of the raw nut.
Lunch can be a tricky meal to plan because there is such a wide variety of food which could be reserved as ‘lunch food’. But instead of a plain cheese sandwich, why not whip up a healthy salad for a great midday health boost. Grains such as quinoa and cous cous are great alternatives to pasta and contain high amounts of protein with all nine essential amino acids.
Quinoa also contains iron to maintain healthy blood cells to efficiently transfer oxygen around the body. This can help to increase brain function. Try making a simple salad with quinoa, fresh diced cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, garlic and coriander. Add pomegranate seeds for a superfood twist. This is a great meal which can be saved for a few days for a simple lunch on the go.
For dinner, try grilling fish with a healthy helping of greens. Fish, in particular salmon and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fats. These fats are all-round good news for the immune system and can aid vision. They can help to protect blood vessels and the delicate capillaries around the eyes to ensure they have a plentiful blood supply to function effectively.
Avoid frying fish as the oil can add unwanted fat the meal. Instead, try steaming or grilling for a tasty crispy skin. As for the greens, choose dark leafy veg such as spinach or kale which are both rich in iron and protein.
Dessert is particularly difficult for dieters but sweet treats don’t have to be unhealthy. Low-fat natural yoghurt is a great alternative to creamy puddings and contains calcium for healthy bones and teeth.
Try sprinkling with more berries for their anti-oxidant properties or chopped bananas for a boost of potassium.
Remember, healthy foods are all readily available. Dieting doesn’t need to be boring; using the right ingredients can be an easy way to boost your immune system for a healthy body.