The best foods to stave off illness
With winter nearly upon us and sickness creeping in, it’s something that’s on everyone’s mind – how do I get my body healthy so that I’m best placed to deal with any illness I may get this year?
When your body has the right level of nutrients it needs to help build your immune system, it’s in the best position to help defend itself. Our bodies need good amounts of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and D, and zinc. You can of course get these from a synthetic pill, but nature has a way of giving us this plus so much more.
Below are foods that can help you with the building blocks of a good immune system and may help when you’re feeling sick.
Chicken soup has been a go-to for sickness for generations, and for good reason. It’s an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals and water. Chicken is also high in vitamin B-6, which is important in many chemical reactions that happen in the body, and it helps with the formation of red blood cells. Broth is another great way of consuming the nutrients that chicken soup can give you.
For a plant-based alternative, a hearty vegetable soup packed with root vegetables, lentils and legumes is just as nourishing.
Who doesn’t love a hot cup of tea! Many teas contain polyphenols, which is a natural substance found in plants that may have many health benefits, including being a good antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects (3).
Studies have shown that green tea, specifically its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGDG) has shown to enhance immune function. This is because green tea is fermented so unlike the process that black tea undergoes, the EGDG is preserved. (11)
One of our favourite remedies, when we’re feeling under the weather here at Nutrient Rescue, is to mix a scoop of Red Shot with lukewarm water, and a spoonful of honey. It’s like drinking a soothing cup of berry tea, only you know it’s full of nutrients.
This amazing green vegetable is loaded with vitamins A, C and E, fibre and other antioxidants. It’s one of the most nutritious plants you can eat, and is generally cost-friendly. Just make sure to cook it as little as possible to retain the most nutrients.
Long known to be a natural remedy, honey has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. A study in 2020 found that honey was more effective at alleviating a cough in children than over-the-counter cough suppressants (4).
Manuka honey is nature’s best, and its antibacterial properties set it apart from traditional honey. Manuka honey also has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Traditionally it’s been used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay, and improving digestive issues.
Our friends over at Airborne Honey have a range of Manuka honey lozenges that are great to stock up on when you’re feeling under the weather.
Fruits are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre which supports overall health and immune function.
Blackcurrant, the small but powerful New Zealand berry is gaining a reputation as one of the best superfoods available globally. Packed full of vitamin C and antioxidants, it boosts the immune system and reduces oxidative stress. Research shows that New Zealand blackcurrants rank significantly higher in levels of antioxidant activity than other fruit. These berries are the most nutritious in the world due to the strong UV light conditions that cause the blackcurrants to form a thicker, darker skin rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols. (11)
Anthocyanins work by preventing free radicals from attacking our cells. So that means a stronger immune system and slower ageing too!
Boysenberries are packed full of an antioxidant called anthocyanins, which is what gives the fruit its red/purple colour. Fruits high in anthocyanins are great fruits to eat while sick because they have strong anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immune-boosting effects.
Add some to a fruit bowl, your porridge or cereal, or blend into a cold smoothie to help ease a sore throat.
Fermented foods are foods and beverages that have undergone controlled microbial growth and fermentation. Most foods can be fermented from whole foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds. While these foods are nutritious in their original form, through fermentation, they have the potential to carry additional health benefits – as fermented foods contain probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are 'good' strains of bacteria that colonise in your gut and keep your body and gut microbiome healthy. A handful of studies showed that probiotics can help children and adults get colds less often, heal faster when sick, and take fewer antibiotics. (5, 6, 7, 8) Prebiotics are special plant fibres that are just as important to include in your diet, as this is what the probiotics 'eat' to survive.
Fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, tempeh, miso paste and kefir.
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They’re especially good sources of plant-based iron, vitamin C, K and folate (9). They’re also full of beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols, which protect our cells from damage and help fight inflammation (10).
Our Green and Double Shots contain a range of green superfoods such as Wheat and barley grass, green pea, and broccoli sprouts. These green veggies are known to be nutrient-dense, which means they’re generally more beneficial nutritionally than many other green veggies.
Used for centuries in herbal medicine, studies have shown garlic to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties (1).
Aged garlic extract supplements may enhance immune function and decrease the severity of colds and the flu. (2)
What are you doing at Nutrient Rescue to prepare?
Along with most other New Zealander’s, the prospect of potentially getting sick isn’t appealing. In fact, all our staff here have upped their daily dose of Double Shot to twice a day, as we’re firm believers that if your body has all the nutrients it needs to function optimally, then you’re going a long way to giving yourself a "head start" in the health department so to speak.
The bottom line, is that staying hydrated, resting and getting proper nutrition are some of the most important things you can do to ensure your body is in tip-top fighting shape. While no food can cure any illness, eating the right foods may help support your immune system and offer some relief from certain symptoms.
To find out how to get started on the Shots, check out our Get Started page.
If you're a returning Shotster head over to the Online Store.
- (1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25050296/
- (2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26764332/
- (3) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25601602/
- (4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24880005/
- (5) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24780623/
- (6) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26463725/
- (7) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26419583/
- (8) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25927096/
- (9) https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103142/nutrients
- (10) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27353735/
- (11) https://www.blackcurrant.co.nz/blackcurrants/benefits/
The Double Shot combines the energy boost of boysenberries and blackcurrants with the micro-nutrients and proven health benefits of green plant food.
30 sachets of Double Shot powder. The Double Shot is the ultimate combination of red and green superfoods, and contains the equivalent of 4 servings of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables.
100% New Zealand Whole Blackcurrant & Boysenberry Powder. Antioxidants, immunity support + reduces fatigue + protects against free radical damage.