5 Immunity Boosting Foods for Runners
Written By: SportsShoes
There’s nothing like a cold or flu to knock your training off-course at this time of year. Help strengthen your natural defences by including these 5 immunity-boosting foods in your diet.
As well as being a flavourful cooking staple, onions are also natural immune defenders. Packed with high levels of Vitamin C, manganese and other nutrients, onions also contain the antioxidant quercetin, and phytocompounds which convert to the antibacterial allicin, delivering a powerful boost to the immune system. Their pungency helps boost circulation, clear mucous and makes you sweat, helping flush out bacteria and toxins.
Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D, essential for the healthy function of the immune system, with one 3-ounce serving supplying over 100% of your daily vitamin D requirement. Salmon is also high in protein, vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12 and selenium, and essential Omega 3 fatty acids.
Garlic adds flavour and depth to many dishes, whilst also helping strengthen your immune system. Each clove is packed with nutrients including vitamins B1, B5 and C, iron and phosphorous, and also the enzyme alliin, which converts to allicin when crushed, delivering powerful antibacterial protection. This effect works best when consumed raw or in capsule form. Garlic is also thought to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Ginger warms the body, stimulates blood circulation, inhibits mucous production and clears congestion, helping deliver more oxygen to the tissues and helping to prevent the accumulation of toxins that make you susceptible to infections (particularly respiratory infections). Ginger also eases digestion and contains strong anti-inflammatory compounds. You can incorporate ginger into your diet by adding it fresh to meals, taking a supplement or sipping ginger tea.
Almonds have a high content of vitamin E and manganese, powerful anti-oxidants which support the immune system by neutralising free radicals. A half a cup serving provides almost 100% of your recommended daily allowance for vitamin E. Eaten with their skins, which contain potent antioxidant flavonoids, this immunity boosting effect is more than doubled. Almonds make a great stand alone snack (a handful 3-5 times a week is good), or alternatively try sprinkling chopped almonds into cereal, yoghurt, salads and pasta dishes.