If, like me, you’re suffering with Spring flu your body will be screaming out for a boost of nutrients and vitamins to replenish your immune system.
Vitamin C is highly concentrated in immune cells and quickly depleted during an infection (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16373990)
In fact, a vitamin C deficiency significantly weakens the immune system and increases the risk of infections (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29099763)
So, getting enough during an infection is essential.
Some foods and nutrients are thought to help the body recover. Few of these are scientifically proven to work, but some are backed by evidence. Here’s a couple.
- Flavonoids: These are antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables. Studies suggest that flavonoid supplements may reduce the risk of infections in the lungs, throat and nose by 33%, on average.
- Garlic: This common spice contains some antimicrobial compounds that may help fight respiratory infections.
The best way to get these nutrients and vitamins is from raw fruit and veg as cooking tends to deplete their goodness. Steaming is better, but raw is the real deal.
But when you’re feeling flu-ey and lacking in energy no-one wants to sit there shovelling raw carrot and spinach into their mouths….or do they? Well, I suppose it depends how it’s presented.
Making a smoothie or juicing are two great ways of accessing those wonderful nutrients, but my all-time favourite is home-made coleslaw. It’s super simple, cheap to make, delicious and can be served with almost everything from a chicken breast to a nice piece of tuna, halloumi fries or spiced chickpeas – so it’s a must for all the ‘vores.
And now the weather is improving in the UK, ‘slaw is perfect for anything you’re serving up on a BBQ.
So, you might say it’s easier to buy coleslaw from a supermarket, but really there’s no comparison in nutrient value to making your own and there’s no sneaky added sugar or preservatives.
When it comes to making the perfect ‘slaw, just about anything goes.
I use a base of raw red cabbage (celeriac, fennel and grated parsnip are super tasty additions, too), garlic, carrot, red onion or chopped chives and an eating apple to sweeten it up. If you can find organic, so much the better as far as getting those nutrients and vitamins into your body are concerned.
I grate them all together, then the fun starts adding anything I can find in my store cupboard – olives, chopped boiled egg, grated cheese, kidney beans, cashew nuts, chopped Medjool dates – then the spices, cumin seeds, mustard seeds (wholegrain mustard can be added to the dressing), fresh coriander or basil leaves. Building up the layers is rather like creating a work of art, although it won’t be hanging around for long enough for people to admire it. Keep tasting it as you go along to get the perfect combination.
Finally, comes the dressing. You can simply add a dollop of Hellman’s, or as I prefer, a good splash of organic olive oil (Tesco do a really tasty oil which is flavoured with white truffle), lemon or lime juice or apple cider vinegar (with the mother) if you like a tangy taste. There are so many fantastic dried spice mixes available which are completely natural, and add fantastic flavour to your ‘slaw. It’s a case of experimenting to get a recipe to your liking.
As the Easter weekend approaches, and everyone will be dining al fresco, why not give it a go?