Can you really increase immunity against colds and coughs and enjoy festive treats?

Let's be honest - your immune system is probably the last thing you think about when doing your Christmas shop.

As the festive season approaches, our fridges become filled with an array of delicious and indulgent treats. While it's tempting to fully indulge, there's good news – many traditional Christmas foods are not only tasty but are also packed with immune-boosting properties!

In this blog, we'll explore how you can make your Christmas meals not only a celebration of flavour, but also a boost for your immune system.

How does food affect immunity?

The connection between food and the immune system is a fundamental aspect of our health.

Think of their link as a partnership; nutrient-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that act like a support system for our immune response. They equip our body to ward off harmful foreign substances, and can nutritionally support both acquired immunity and the innate immune system.

ill at christmas

On the flip side, a diet high in processed foods, saturated fats, and sugar can weaken our immune defense, making us more susceptible to illnesses.

So, it's not just about satisfying hunger – every meal is an opportunity to fortify our body's natural defenses and keep our immune system in top shape.

What foods strengthen our immune system?

Alongside living a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, managing stress, and being mindful of your alcohol intake during festivities, the following foods can fuel your immune system:

1) Citrus

Embrace the winter season by incorporating citrus fruits into your menu.
Oranges, grapefruits, and clementines are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports normal immune function.

Serve up a refreshing citrus salad or add citrus slices to your favourite festive drinks for a zesty twist – our Turmeric, Beetroot, and Berry Mocktail recipe is a real immunity-boosting showstopper!

healthy christmas mocktail

2) Garlic

Garlic isn't just for keeping vampires away – it's also a potent immune booster.

Packed with allicin, garlic has antimicrobial properties that can help ward off infections.

Include garlic in your savoury dishes, such as roasted vegetables, soups, or even mashed potatoes, for an immune-boosting kick.

garlic chopping

3) Gingerbread

Ginger, a popular spice during the festive season and the hero of our Raw Turmeric & Ginger shot, is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Create a healthier version of gingerbread cookies using whole-grain flour and fresh ginger. Our Turmeric Gingerbread Cookie recipe is a deliciously nourishing take on this!

Not only will you satisfy your sweet tooth, but you'll also give your immune system a warm and comforting hug.

gingerbread baking

4) Nuts and seeds

Many Christmas recipes call for nuts and seeds, and that's excellent news for your immune system – unless you have an allergy, in which case please steer clear!

Almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, which plays a crucial role in supporting immune response.

So sprinkle a handful of nuts in your festive bakes, or enjoy them as a wholesome snack!

christmas nuts

5) Yoghurt

Probiotics, found in yoghurt, are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut, which is closely linked to immune function.

Create a festive yoghurt bowl by layering yogurt with fresh berries, granola, cinnamon, and a drizzle of honey. It's a tasty and immune-boosting treat that can be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert.

winter yoghurt bowl

6) Herbal teas

To help your immune system work well, swap sugary drinks for immune-boosting herbal teas.

Peppermint, chamomile, and green tea are excellent choices to fuel your line of defense. You could also opt for a warming Turmeric Latte to give your body a soothing boost of nutrients. Not only does this contribute to your fluid intake, but it also provides antioxidants that support overall health.

herbal tea

So this season, push the chicken soup to the side and turn your festive feasts into a celebration of health as well as flavour.

By incorporating immune-boosting foods into your diet, you not only treat your taste buds but also provide your immune system with the nutrients it needs to stay strong and resilient.

Indulge in the richness of the Christmas, while giving your immune system the support it deserves by choosing foods that boost your immunity!

Thomas Robson-Kanu

The Hal Robson-Kanu Guide To Fitness & Nutrition

Gain exclusive insight into habits that will make every day a healthy and fulfilling one.