Natural antiviral remedies - Part 3: Antiviral foods
One of the easiest ways to introduce antivirals into your life is by including them in your meals. There are loads of different foods available which can help to build and maintain your immunity to viruses, many of which you’ll probably be eating already.
Here, we look at some of the foods with antiviral properties that deserve a place in your diet.
Citrus fruits, such as lemons, limes, tangerines, and grapefruits, are wonderfully high in vitamin C. The body can’t produce vitamin C by itself, so ensuring that you include vitamin C rich foods in your diet is vital in keeping maintaining a strong and healthy immune system. Citrus fruits have been found to be antiviral as they attach virus cells and destroy bacteria. They also contain lots of antioxidants which can help to aid respiration, and anti-inflammatories which can ease the symptoms of sore throats, respiratory tract infections, and inflamed tonsils. Drinking hot water with a slice of citrus fruit, and squeezing juice onto salads, are great ways to include them in your diet.
Foods containing vitamin A
Another very important vitamin when it comes to protecting yourself from viruses is vitamin A. One of the main jobs of this vitamin is to support your body’s natural defences to stop bacteria and other nasties from entering your system in the first place. This includes maintaining the mucous membranes around your eyes, gut, and lungs. Vitamin A also assists in the production of white blood cells which remove pathogens from the body and help it to stay healthy. This will lower your risk of infection. Add foods such as carrots, squash, and goji berries to your diet to ensure that your vitamin A levels are topped up.
Foods containing zinc
Zinc is absolutely vital when it comes to fighting viruses, as it is integral in keeping a strong immune system. Zinc plays an important part in immune cell development and inflammatory response, and those who suffer from a zinc deficiency may find themselves with an increased risk of infection. Eating foods containing zinc, such as sprouted nuts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds, can both help to protect you against viruses and common colds, and can reduce the length of your illness if you’re already sick too.
The role of flavonoids
Flavonoids are found in almost all fruits and vegetables, plus tea, certain spices, and even chocolate too. There are a number of types of flavonoids which can help you to defend yourself against infections. One of which is flavanols, which act as an antioxidant and will help you to maintain a healthy body with protection from toxins. Foods rich in flavanols include onions, kale, berries, tomatoes, and broccoli.
Selenium rich foods
Selenium is a wonder nutrient when it comes to building a tough immunity against viruses, as you only need to add small amounts to your diet to benefit from a positive impact. Selenium is great for the body as it can reduce oxidative stress due to the fact that it’s a powerful antioxidant. This both protects your cells and will help your immune system to fight off viruses. Selenium is also a fantastic anti-inflammatory, which means that it can reduce inflammation causing symptoms such as a tight chest, coughing, and shortness of breath. Selenium rich foods include almonds, ginger, spinach, and fish, so ensure that you include lots of these in your diet.
Now that you know which foods contain antiviral properties, you can include them in your diet to help to defend yourself against viruses. You can find out more about antiviral remedies by reading our blog posts on antiviral herbs and antiviral essential oils.