First it was toilet paper, then it was flour… While certain things are flying off the supermarket shelves, there are plenty of other items to stock your pantry with that will actually help boost your health and immunity.
Take it from Hong Kong nutritionist Sandra Carvajal of Central & Stanley Wellness, who shares five immunity-boosting superfoods to keep in your pantry for some healthy home cooking:
1. Probiotic foods
Probiotics support friendly bacteria that reside in the gut, enhancing our innate immunity and helping our bodies fight inflammation. Some great options are plain yoghurt (dairy or non-dairy), kimchi, sauerkraut, any fermented vegetables, miso and kefir.
Mainly an anti-inflammatory, ginger supports digestion and has great antioxidant properties that boost the immune system. I recommend grating generous amounts of ginger into a litre of water, bringing it to a boil with a stick of antibacterial cinnamon, and drinking it with some freshly squeezed lemon juice and a drop of honey to fight colds and help ease a sore throat.
3. Leafy greens
Greens like kale and spinach are rich in vitamins A and C, which help our bodies fight infection and protect against illness. One way to increase your intake of leafy greens is through green smoothies – my favourite being any leafy green that I have in the fridge mixed with frozen banana, almonds, coconut water, raw cacao powder, maca powder and a handful of blueberries.
4. Nuts and seeds
Rich in healthy fatty acids, nuts and seeds are an amazing source of minerals such as zinc, magnesium and selenium, plus vitamins like B & E that are fundamental for boosting our immunity. Keep an airtight container in the fridge with a mix of pumpkin, sunflower and flaxseed that you can sprinkle over soups, salads and cereal, or just eat as a healthy snack.
Berries are probably the top antioxidant food to help our bodies fight an
excess of free radicals, thanks to their high vitamin C content. Fresh and
frozen berries can be used in different ways; they make a great breakfast when
combined with natural yoghurt and seeds, or you can add them to your smoothies
and eat them alone as a snack.