Are winter smoothies good for your immune system?
They certainly can be and they can also be anything but as well!
It all depends on what your smoothie is made of and this is the smoothie equivalent to “it’s what on the inside that counts”.
Now we’ll consider some things to look for and avoid as well how to supercharge your smoothie to nourish your immune system.
Let’s dive in now (we always imagine a little version of us jumping into a smoothie when we write this. Is it just us?)
Plants, plants and more plants
Firstly, you have to make sure your smoothie is largely fruit and vegetable based.
According to the ABS, there’s only 5% of Australian’s that get their recommended 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruits daily.
An increased intake of plants has been associated with improved immune function.
And smoothies (as you already know), make it really easy to bump up your plant intake.
Avoid added sugars
So always check your food labels and also more importantly check to see what’s in your smoothie.
Vitamin C is used by immune cells to ingest and destroy bacteria and viruses (pretty important in winter!) among its many other uses in your body.
By increasing your plant consumption, it also means you’ll be getting more vitamin C.
On top of having more plants, there’s plenty more you can do to increase your vitamin C intake too.
We’ve done a whole article already on Vitamin C, so here’s a short summary of vitamin C rich foods to include in your smoothies.
Include more citrus foods like oranges, lemons and papaya as well as berries, capsicum and dark leafy greens.
You could also consider adding in a superfood powder to really supercharge your smoothie.
Or how about you try adding the Camu-Camu berry or native Kakadu Plum too?
Zinc is another nutrient that is crucial for immune function, it’s needed for proper development and also helps with the function of immune cells.
So, what smoothie ingredients are high in zinc for you?
- Hemp seeds
- Nuts and seeds
You can blend them into your frozen smoothie or sprinkle them on top for some extra texture.
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Lemon and Lime
Adding a fresh squeeze of these bad boys (and girls) not only gives a nice tang to your smoothie but can also help improve your immune function.
Both the vitamin C in the juice and phytochemicals in the peel can be your best friends in winter.
Perhaps one that isn’t often thought of for immunity, but it should be.
Coconut oil contains monolaurin, an antimicrobial substance which may help your body ward off some nasties you’ve picked up this winter.
Now, in winter coconut oil will tend to get clumpy, so consider heating it up on the stove before consuming.
We have also overheard in the Super Cubes office that cuddling the coconut oil jar for long periods of time and/or placing the jar next to your hot water bottle also helps although we would not advise it.
Otherwise you can opt for MCT oil, it is derived from coconut oil and has these same properties while being a liquid, even throughout winter.
Some quick honourable mentions
Here are some other ingredients that can help boost your immune function leading into and over the winter months.
- A dash of cayenne
- Manuka honey
- Elderberry syrup (if you can find one without much added sugar, or make your own)
Immune system and your Gut
Gut health has been at the forefront of health and wellness in recent years and for good reason too.
Researchers are constantly making new discoveries about our gut and the trillions of micro-organisms that reside there.
What has been found is that 80% of your immune system resides in the GUT.
So, tending to gut health is of the utmost importance when considering your immune system.
To ensure a happy, healthy gut, make sure you’ve got these foods in your diet.
- Anti-inflammatory rich foods
Fortunately, our Super Cubes smoothie packs have got you covered for these!
Give your immune a boost before winter
When you think of immunity, are Super Cubes smoothies the first thing that comes to mind?
More than likely not.
And that’s why we’re trying to educate you, to let you know that smoothies can help you 365 days a year (even more on a Leap Year) in so many different ways.
They are convenient, easy to make and super healthy at the same time.
We have to ask you, do add any of these foods and nutrients to your frozen smoothies already?
If you do you’re already well on the way to giving your immune function a boost!
If not (after reading the above), it might be time to plan what are you going to add to your smoothies next time?