The Diet Doctors' Immune-boosting Superfoods ; Health Notes

Mail on Sunday

09-21-06

The dynamic duo of Dr Wendy Denning and Vicki Edgson aka the Diet Doctors, are back this month for a second TV series dedicated to improving our health through nutrition.

With the season of colds and flu soon upon us, I asked Wendy and Vicki what superfoods they will be tucking into to support their immune systems.

Their secret weapons are: . Avocados A true superfood, rich in vitamins C and E, the vital antioxidants for fighting off viruses such as colds and flu, and essential fatty acids to help hair, skin and general health.

. Beetroot High in betacarotene (which is converted to vitamin A when needed) as well as abundant in vitamin C, this versatile root vegetable can be eaten cooked, raw or juiced and is also an excellent liver-supporting food.

. Blackberries Rich in virus-fighting bioflavonoids and anthocyanins (types of antioxidants). Frozen is fine as freezing doesn't deplete the vitamin C content.

. Carrots These contain one of the highest percentages of betacarotene of all vegetables and fruits, also a good source of vitamin C. Best eaten raw (eg, as cruditEs or in salads).

. Home-made chicken soup Simmer a broken-up chicken carcass (preferably organic) with onions, garlic and herbs for several hours, so that all the minerals from the bone marrow can seep into the broth. Chicken is one of the best sources of zinc, vital for the immune system.

. Garlic Like onions, garlic is one of the most potent antibacterial, antiviral vegetables. It is also a potent mucus fighter, so is indispensable for combating colds and flu.

. Pears These contain pectin which helps remove toxins from the gut and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, plus betacarotene, folic acid and iodine.

. Sweet potatoes Inexpensive, bright orange veg that contain far more betacarotene and vitamin C than ordinary potatoes and are also lower on the glycemic index, making them a perfect source of immune- boosting carbohydrates.

. Tomatoes Fresh or cooked tomatoes have abundant betacarotene, vitamin C and lycopene all valuable antioxidants for the immune system. Adding sugar can destroy these nutrients so avoid tomato ketchup.

. Turmeric powder This Asian spice has been used for over 3,000 years for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients called curcumins, hence the reason that a hot curry is good for a cold!