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Leading children’s cookery author and food expert, Annabel Karmel, shares her top 10 immune boosting foods...
Get set up for summer and keep your family’s defences supported with a range of nature’s very own superfoods! Here, Anna has pulled together a selection of top foods full to the brim with immune boosting properties.
A powerful source of vitamins and minerals, broccoli is one healthy vegetable to pop on your plate. It contains vitamin A, C and E as well as iron, potassium and folate to name but a few.
Make steaming your superpower when it comes to cooking your veggies as steaming is the best way to maintain those all-important nutrients. Why not try serving steamed Tenderstem broccoli ‘soldiers’ with a boiled egg for little ones to dunk and dip!
Oily fish such as salmon is the best source of omega 3 essential fatty acids and should feature in your child’s diet twice a week. It’s an essential nutrient, hence the ‘essential’ in its title! Omega 3s are responsible for helping the development of your child’s vision, nervous system as well as brain growth and development. Plus, they help to reduce inflammation and enhance the function of your immune cells.
Carrots pack a powerful crunch. High in antioxidants; this cheap and cheerful versatile veggie is packed full of vitamin A, and lots of other all-important immune boosting nutrients.
Rich in monounsaturated fats (also known as the ‘good type’ of fat) avocados are one of the most nutrient dense foods around. They also contain vitamins A, C and E which can help our immune systems fight off any unwanted attack!
If your family likes to cook-up a good curry at the weekend, then you’re in luck. Those typical curry ingredients such as garlic, ginger, turmeric and other spices all have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties so plan in that healthy homemade ‘takeaway’ night now!
Blueberries are packed with vitamin C to help you fight off bothersome colds so are an essential ingredient for your family throughout the year. Frozen berries are just as nutritious as fresh so when they’re not in season, have a stash in your freezer so you can dip in when your family need an immune boost!
Eggs are one of my favourite ingredients to cook with as they contain so many important nutrients such as protein and essential vitamins and minerals including folate, vitamin D, iodine, selenium, choline and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
There are so many recipes you can create with the almighty egg – try some egg muffin cups, veggie fritters, scrambled egg tortilla wraps or stir through rice for a tasty egg fried rice.
There’s a reason Popeye was a fan! Not only is this leafy green packed with vitamin C, it contains a whole host of antioxidants as well as beta carotene which can help build and strengthen your immune system.
Straight up spinach might not be top of your child’s favourite foods list, so I like to serve it up in different ways. For example you can blitz spinach into a pancake batter, stir through a tomato sauce in a pasta bake or make a super-fuelled pesto!
Opt for the ‘live and active’ yoghurts which contain ‘good for you’ bacteria. These live cultures are said to stimulate your immune system and support your digestive health. But, do be careful to choose one that is full fat and check that it doesn’t contain any added sugar. If needed, you can always sweeten slightly with fresh fruit.
Nuts and seeds are rich in antioxidants such as omega fatty acids, zinc and vitamin E. Variety is key so why not mix it up with some homemade granola for breakfast or task your little ones to help you make mini energy balls by blending dates, oats, peanut butter, chia seeds and raisins – and then get rolling!
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