As the winter sniffles can be heard around the home or office, you need to think about boosting your immunity with a diet rich in fresh vegetables. Keep that flu at bay with these great vegetable tips. What are the best veges to eat to boost you up?

Vegetables provide us with immunity-enhancing vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals to help keep those bugs at bay!

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), as well as vitamins A (retinol), E (tocopherol) and B6 (pyridoxine), zinc and selenium are all important nutrients which help to aid the body’s resistance to viral and bacterial infections.

The good news is these bug-fighting, body-boosting tools can be found easily in your local retailer’s or farmers market’s produce section.

Vitamin C is particularly high in capsicum, fresh cabbage, sweetcorn, and broccoli. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps to fight free radical damage. It helps to reduce inflammation and enhance our immunity.

Vitamin A (or its pre-cursor beta-carotene) is another antioxidant which helps to aid the immune system. It is found in carrots, capsicums, pumpkin, sweetcorn and kumara and is responsible for giving these vegetables their yellow/orange colours. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts also contain this vitamin.

Vitamin E is the most powerful natural antioxidant. Vitamin E is found in abundance in vegetable oils (sunflower, flax, cornmeal, olive, and almond).

Vitamin B6 is another vitamin which is important for maintaining immunity. It helps maintain the health of lymphoid organs that make white blood cells, which fight infections. It is found in many vegetables: potatoes, carrots, cabbage, beans and peas, to name a few.

Zinc is known to play an important role in the immune system and those who are zinc deficient are more prone to infection. Vegetables which contain zinc include beans, courgette, broccoli
and asparagus.

Selenium is an antioxidant which has immune boosting properties. It is found in carrots, mushrooms and cabbage.

Sulforaphane is a phytochemical which is abundant in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (e.g. cauliflower and cabbage). It may play a key role in boosting the body’s age-related immunity problems. Sulforaphane causes the body to produce its own antioxidants, which then combat the injurious effects of free radicals that can damage cells and lead to disease.

So in a nutshell, eat raw:

Carrots

Broccoli, beans, peas – anything green!

Mushrooms

Cabbage

Cauliflower

And the power vege – as voted by the World Health Organisation?

Watercress.

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