Eat yourself fit – how to boost your immune system

Even without COVID-19, common colds are a nuisance during winter. Wet, chilly weather keeps our immune systems working hard, and with other people snivelling around us, it’s hard to make it through winter without catching a cold.

But what can you do to activate and strengthen your body’s own protective shield so colds don’t stand a chance? The secret lies in your diet, which is why taking care of what you eat has never been more crucial.

We asked nutrition expert Anastasia Zampounidis for her most effective tips when it comes to strengthening the immune system.

Anastasia is a TV host, bestselling author (current book “Happy Eating“) and a nutritional prophetess and has been living completely sugar-free for more than 15 years. Here she reveals invaluable tips and tricks to boost your immune system in autumn with a delicious and nutritious diet.

The best immune-strengthening foods

According to Anastasia, it’s important to reduce your sugar consumption or even stop it completely. That’s because commercially available industrial sugar prevents optimal absorption of vitamins and minerals from food, which means the body can’t take value from food. That’s why they call chocolate the vitamin robber!

How to live sugar-free long term

Anastasia says her diet currently includes 8 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Some kinds of seasonal fruit, like fresh figs, grapes and persimmon, contain high vitamin and mineral content.

Pumpkin, cabbage and apple varieties such as Boskoop and Cox Orange contain an extra portion of secondary plant substances that promote health and, depending on their type, can have an anti-inflammatory, blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering effect. 

Anastasia’s secret tip: Greek mountain tea! This herbal tea not only brightens up your mind, but has a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect, supporting your immune system optimally during the cold and wet season.

Find tips on how to live sugar-free here.

What effects do immune boosters have on your body?

You feel mentally and physically fitter and more comfortable in your skin, says Anastasia. A balanced diet with enough proteins, healthy fats and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables is important to keep you healthy and fit.

Something else happens, too: nutrients contribute to your motivation to move, so you can do a couple more laps than usual in your morning jog. More exercise and regular sports helps you eat more consciously, which sets an upward spiral in motion.

Anastasia says: “Eating the right things is so important. Only then does our body release the “satisfaction hormone” serotonin, which promotes a healthy relationship with food.”

How can I implement plans for healthy eating without investing a lot of time?

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. The idea that healthy eating takes a lot of time is a myth – so don’t worry about losing those precious hours after work slaving away in the kitchen.

Anastasia says meal-prep is the magic word.  It means you can plan food days in advance and alleviate cravings with nutrition.

Find more tips here on how to fight a ravenous appetite attacks.

Anastasia doesn’t like to stand at the cutting board every day for hours, but prefers to pack a whole baking tray full of vegetables that will last up to three days.

It’s this simple:

Pour olive oil, salt and pepper over the vegetables and put them in the oven at 180 degrees until they are crispy. Then put into storage containers and place in the refrigerator. 

While you cook:

Nuts are excellent for snacking, especially in the cold season. You can also use dried fruit and chestnuts, as they’re real nutrient bombs as well as sweet and satisfying. Packed in small screw-top jars, you’ll always have a healthy snack to alleviate any cravings for chocolate.

And as a tasty goodie at the end, here’s a special recipe for a warm and strengthening drink:

Golden Milk

  • 150 ml water (filtered, boiled)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 Medjoul date (diced and crushed with a fork)
  • 1 small piece of ginger (peel and dice very finely)
  • 300 ml cashew milk (alternatively almond milk)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon, sea salt and black pepper

Preparation:

Bring all ingredients to the boil in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes at low heat, stirring every now and then – et violà!

As you can see, with these effective tips from nutrition expert Anastasia, it’s easy to boost your immune system and eat a varied diet in autumn. Variety is the key to boosting your immune system so colds don’t stand a chance this winter.

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