10 foods to keep colds and flu at bay

The win­ter chill with colds and flu bugs is here — but if you eat well you have a bet­tertte chance­cace oof stay­ing well, writes s Lanai Scarr

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - — Lanai Scarr is a na­tional po­lit­i­cal re­porter for The Satur­day Tele­graph. She also runs her own food blog, Good Baby Kitchen. You can find more food tips and healthy fam­ily recipes on good­babyk­itchen.com

K eep your fam­ily healthy and happy through­out win­ter by eat­ing well. Lanai Scarr lists 10 foods which will boost your fam­ily’s im­mu­nity.

B rrr, it’s get­ting chilly out there. And the on­set of the colder weather gen­er­ally means house­holds around the coun­try are struck down with colds and flus.

What we eat and feed our kids — and our­selves — plays an enor­mous role in help­ing our bod­ies func­tion prop­erly and fight off sick­ness. Eat­ing a diet that is rich in im­mune­boost­ing vi­ta­mins and min­er­als can def­i­nitely help to keep us at peak health and ward off colds, flus and other bugs.

Many of us might know that or­anges are a great way to in­crease vi­ta­min C in­take and boost im­mu­nity but there are a whole range of other foods that can also help to keep you fight­ing fit.

Here are my top 10 foods to help boost your fam­ily’s im­mu­nity and keep those bugs at bay.

Broc­coli I know some­times it can be a chal­lenge to get your kids to eat broc­coli but it re­ally is SO good for boost­ing im­mu­nity.

Broc­coli is packed with vi­ta­min C and loaded with vi­ta­mins and min­er­als such as vi­ta­min A, iron, vi­ta­min K, Bcom­plex vi­ta­mins, zinc, phos­pho­rus and phy­tonu­tri­ents. Broc­coli is a part of the cru­cif­er­ous veg­etable group and so is full of an­tiox­i­dant vi­ta­mins that give your im­mune sys­tem a boost.

You can sneak broc­coli into stews, soups, bolog­nese and any savoury dish. Broc­coli also purees re­ally well so if your baby has just started solids or you want a mashed potato al­ter­na­tive you can puree it in with other veg­eta­bles.

Co­conut oil

Un­like other oils co­conut oil con­tains short term medi­um­chain sat­u­rated fatty acids, which is a “healthy” form of sat­u­rated fat.

It con­tains lau­ric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid which are proven to have an­ti­fun­gal, an­tibac­te­rial and an­tivi­ral prop­er­ties to help boost the im­mune sys­tem.

You can add co­conut oil to baked goods, por­ridge and it can even be used as a sub­sti­tute for but­ter on toast. It’s great for cooking meat and veg­eta­bles in too.


Blue­ber­ries are packed full of im­mune boost­ing nu­tri­ents. They are the high­est source of an­tiox­i­dants of

any fresh fruit. Blue­ber­ries are rich in vi­ta­min C, which helps to ward off colds and flus. One serv­ing of blue­ber­ries gives you 25 per cent of your rec­om­mended daily in­take of vi­ta­min C. They also con­tain vi­ta­min E and A, are a source of cop­per (which is a proven im­mune builder and an­tibac­te­rial), se­le­nium, zinc and iron.

Blue­ber­ries are great as an easy snack on their own (just make sure to mush them for small ba­bies so they don’t choke on them) or you can also add them to baked goods or on top of your break­fast.


Yo­ghurt con­tains “good bac­te­ria” or pro­bi­otics that help to keep the gut and in­testi­nal tract free of germs. Mean­ing your body re­mains strong and healthy and your im­mune sys­tem stays stronger to help fight off any nasty bugs over the win­ter.

Re­search has shown that peo­ple who con­sumed regular pro­bi­otics re­duced the length and sever­ity of their colds and flus, tak­ing half as many sick days.

Make sure you look for brands with ac­tive cul­tures to get the most im­mune boost­ing benefits from eat­ing yo­ghurt.

You can eat yo­ghurt on its own or use it as an al­ter­na­tive to cream on baked goods or in savoury dishes.


Gar­lic con­tains the ac­tive com­pound al­licin. It is re­spon­si­ble for its char­ac­ter­is­tic odour and also has nat­u­ral an­tibac­te­rial and anti-in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties. Gar­lic also con­tains sul­phur com­pounds, vi­ta­min C and the min­eral se­le­nium which all are proven to help boost im­mu­nity.

You can make your own minced gar­lic for cooking re­ally eas­ily by putting fresh gar­lic cloves and a lit­tle olive oil in a food pro­ces­sor and whizzing it un­til smooth. In an air­tight con­tainer it stores for ages in the fridge.

Carob or co­coa

Ac­cord­ing to a study at Cor­nell Uni­ver­sity co­coa con­tains al­most twice as many an­tiox­i­dants as red wine. It also con­tains be­tween two and three times as many an­tiox­i­dants as green tea and four to five times more than black tea.

Flavonoids in co­coa and carob also help to in­crease blood flow and oxy­gen to the brain.

I pre­fer to use carob in my cooking th­ese days be­cause co­coa con­tains caf­feine which isn’t rec­om­mended for grow­ing lit­tle bod­ies.

Carob is such a great al­ter­na­tive to co­coa. It is nat­u­rally sweet and con­tains three times as much cal­cium as co­coa. Other benefits in­clude that it is high in pro­tein, con­tains vi­ta­mins A, B, B2, B3 and D, is a good an­tiox­i­dant and has proven re­sults in the treat­ment of colds, flus and asthma.

Sweet potato

Sweet pota­toes are loaded with vi­ta­mins and min­er­als to help boost im­mu­nity. They con­tain vi­ta­mins D, B6 and C. They are a source of iron — which is per­fect for grow­ing lit­tle bod­ies — and they are a good source of mag­ne­sium which is a proven anti-stress min­eral.

Sweet pota­toes are also is high in vi­ta­min A, which par­tic­u­larly helps to keep the skin healthy. The skin is the body’s largest or­gan and is the first line of de­fence against bac­te­ria and dis­ease so healthy skin means more im­mu­nity against colds and flus and other germs.


Mush­rooms might seem like a bit of a noth­ing veg­etable but they are ac­tu­ally a ma­jor source of zinc which has been proven to boost the im­mune sys­tem. In ad­di­tion to zinc, mush­rooms are also high in B Vi­ta­mins, par­tic­u­larly niacin, ri­boflavin and pan­tothenic acid. They are also rich in se­le­nium — an an­tiox­i­dant that helps to pro­tect cells from dam­age — and potas­sium.


I started eat­ing lots of kale when I was preg­nant. Per calo­rie kale con­tains more iron than beef and is also high in folate. Folate is not only es­sen­tial dur­ing preg­nancy and good for grow­ing lit­tle bod­ies but it is also a proven im­mu­nity booster.

In ad­di­tion to folate, kale is also ex­tremely high in vi­ta­min C. Kale con­tains close to four times the amount of vi­ta­min C than spinach per 100g.

Kale can be eaten on its own or chopped and added to any savoury dish.


Like mush­rooms, pepi­tas are rich in the im­mune-boost­ing min­eral zinc. Zinc not only boosts the im­mune sys­tem but it

is also im­porta nt for reg­u­lat­ing sleep, mood and eye and skin health.

In ad­di­tion to zinc pepi­tas are also high in mag­ne­sium, omega 3s and have proven an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties. They con­tain vi­ta­min A, vi­ta­min B, vi­ta­min K, thi­amin, ri­boflavin, niacin, cal­cium, and iron.

I love munch­ing on some pepi­tas just on their own but you can grind them up and add them to baked goods or savoury dishes. You can also sprin­kle pepi­tas on top of your break­fast ce­real or even on top of av­o­cado on toast.

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