Beat the winter bugs with these superfoods
Beat the winter bugs with these superfoods
00:00 (GMT+2), Fri, 18 May 2012
Superfoods are foods that don’t just supply the basic components of our diet, i.e. carbohydrates, protein and fat. They also boost energy and brain power to prevent illness and even repair damage.
Many fruits and vegetables are packed full of natural chemicals and antioxidants that have very important functions in healing and preventing illness and diseases. The key to making sure you get a good supply of antioxidants is to choose a good variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables to eat each day. In general, the more colourful the fruit, the more nutritious it is. Vegetables that are red, yellow, bright green and rich purple, are treasure troves of healthy nutrients.
Include these foods in your diet:
- Garlic, onion and leek contain orgnanosulphides which seem to stimulate the immune system. Garlic is rich in allicin (a natural antibiotic), and is also antiviral.
- Vitamin supplements contain only a small portion of the nutritional benefits available from fruit and vegetables, however it’s recommended to give breastfed babies a vitamin supplement of A, C and D from six months. Ask your healthcare centre or baby clinic for advice.
- Vitamin C levels are depleted during illness. Boosting the body’s levels of vitamin C may actually reduce cold symptoms. Vitamin C is also needed for the healing of wounds, and increases the body’s absorption of iron. Good sources include kiwi fruit, citrus fruits, sweet peppers, blackcurrants, dark green leafy vegetables and strawberries.
- Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit, because of their high levels of anthocyanins in the skin.
- Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables are high in beta carotene, which boosts the immune system against colds and flu.
- Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and nuts supply a good source of protein, which is important for the growth, maintenance and repair of body tissue. An inadequate supply of protein can lower resistance to infection.
- Apple are easy to digest. Pectin, the soluble fibre contained in apples also helps to relieve constipation.
- Papaya is also high in soluble fibre, important for normal bowel function, and it contains enzymes that help digestion. It’s also a rich source of vitamin C and beta-carotene.
- Bananas are packed with slow-release sugars for sustained energy. They’re also great for treating both constipation and diarrhoea. However, they do seem to cause constipation in some susceptible babies.
Recipes for health
Blueberry, Pear and Apple Purée
Blueberries are packed with vitamin C, which can help reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu. This is quite a runny purée, but if you don’t want to use baby rice, you can also mix it with some mashed banana or Greek yoghurt.
*Makes 2–3 portions
*Suitable for freezing
*Preparation time: 3 minutes
*Cooking time: 5 minutes
- 1 sweet apple
- 1 ripe peach, peeled, cored and chopped
- 60g strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
- 50g blueberries
- 2 tbsp baby rice or half a crumbled rusk
Place all the fruit into a heavy based saucepan. Cover and cook over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Purée in a blender and stir in the baby rice or crumbled rusk.
Chicken soup with rice
This is the most delicious soup and is really good to make when you have leftover roast chicken. Research shows that chicken soup can help reduce mucus, boost immunity and reduce inflammation in the nose. It’s easy to swallow and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
*Makes 4 portions
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ medium onion (50g) chopped
- 1 medium carrot (85g) diced
- 650 ml good chicken stock
- ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 50g frozen peas
- 85g tinned sweetcorn
- 55g rice (170g cooked rice)
- 110g cooked chicken
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sauté the onion in the oil gently for about 5 minutes. Add the carrot, stock and thyme, and simmer for 4–5 minutes or until the carrot softens. Add the peas and sweetcorn, and simmer for 3 minutes. Shred the chicken into pieces and add to the soup, together with the cooked rice, and simmer for 2 minutes to reheat. Season with a little salt and pepper.
nutrition, food, pregnancy, annabel, karmel