Top 10 Superfoods to boost your immunity this Autumn
Etie'no Skincare is all about wellbeing be it inside our outside and a change of season is a great time to switch things up or down.
I love autumn. There. I said it.
I love the crisp air, the last minute sun, the changing leaves and the promise of Christmas. I love nothing more than snuggling on the sofa, cocooned in a huge blanket, cup of cocoa in hand and a great book. I hibernate.
The autumnal months are a great reminder to slow down and nurture yourself for optimum performance. I also believe that healthy skin starts from the inside, so it is all about what you put in before what you put on, so perfect timing.
This season, I will be focusing on boosting my immune system with healthy and healing foods so I can be at my best mentally.
I have been growing food this year (beetroots, carrots, tomatoes, kale, swiss chard, romanesco and fennel) and will do a review of my attempts in a later post. I did not have much success (my veggies were so tiny) but I loved seeing the variety of beetroot on my plate (stripy, albino and golden)
So in the meantime, I am still shopping for food even though the dream is to be self -sufficient. I live near a farmer’s market so I tend to buy food direct from them as I get the fresh – sometimes with the soil still on and clean and freeze for optimum freshness.
That said, here is a list of the fabulous 10 with links to my personal favourites:
1. Citrus fruits are nutritional powerhouses and come in a variety of colours, flavours and sizes. From the bright yellow lemons to the ruby coloured grapefruit they are an excellent source of Vitamin C which is renowned for its immune boosting property.
Let’s look at the stats - an orange contains 51mg, a grapefruit 38 mg and a lemon 30 mg of the stuff. Who would have thought? Citrus fruits are not boring.
You have limes, pomelos, tangerines, mandarins, satsumas, grapefruits, orange and yuzu to choose from. Each one with its unique taste and flavour. How wonderful is that? A squeeze in a glass of water will liven things up and help keep you healthy.
2. I am a late comer to planet Turmeric. I hated the earthy taste and it took me a while to get used the yellow stains from the fresh root. A friend of mine made me a turmeric latte with almond milk, cardamom, black pepper and ginger and I was hooked.
Turmeric has been valued in India for centuries and contains a compound called curcumin which is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and can help improve brain function and fight disease – great for colds.
It is best consumed with black pepper for optimum results. I prefer fresh turmeric and buy them when I see them in the shops and wrap in paper and freeze for when I am under the weather.
3. Red peppers. Chillies and everything of the capsicum kind are always a great hit at EtienoHQ. Growing up in Africa, my nan added it to many a meal in the rainy season to ward off a cold. She was ahead of her time.
Peppers actually contain more vitamin C than oranges. Did you know that? A medium red pepper contains 190mg of Vitamin C compared to 51mg in an orange. I love mine chopped raw, sprinkled with salt and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil or simply roasted and served with some hummus. Yum.
4. Baobab has to make the list. If I get the chance to reincarnate, I would love to return as a baobab plant. Everything from the seed to the leaf is so useful. We use baobab oil in our Etie'no Regenerate Hair Oil for its high antioxidant content but it is amazing in powder form too.
I buy my baobab powder from Aduna and add to smoothies, porridge bowls, juices for my vitamin c fix. A 10g spoon provides 33% of my daily vitamin c allowance.
5. Garlic, Ginger and Onions otherwise known as “the holy trinity” in Cantonese cuisine are the bee’s knees and a kitchen staple for well being this season. Garlic contains a sulphuric compound called allicin which has antibacterial and antifungal properties and help boost immunity against cold and flu.
Garlic’s aunty, ginger contains an active compound known as gingerol and may help reduce inflammations and sore throats
What of cousin onions? The humble onion contains Vitamin C, flavonoids, phytonutrients, fibre, folic acid and many more. According to the National Onion Association (yes there is such a thing), onions contain quercetin which is an antioxidant compound.
Antioxidants help to delay oxidative damage to our cells and allow our bodies function optimally. I love adding the trio to stews and soups and a chomp on raw ginger if I feel nausea coming up.
6. Green tea is my absolute favourite tea … packed full of antioxidants (I know I have overused the word) is crammed full of compounds like polyphenols which helps to reduce inflammation and L-theanine which improves brain function. It is also reported to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and even cancer.
I love Pukka Matcha Green tea and add a slice of lemon occasionally to switch the flavour.
7. Berries are delicious and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavour. From mini and yummy blueberries to the bittersweet goji berries, they pack a punch with their high vitamin C content and a great way to protect cells from damage and build immunity.
I love discovering new berries and ways to use them. I love goji berries and add them to my smoothies for a quick fix without the high sugars. Acai berry on yoghurt is scrumptious. Your body will thank you for it. The best berries for autumn are Rosehips, Raspberries, Bilberries, Rowan berries, Elder berries, Blackberries, Hawthorn berries, and Wild strawberries.
8. Manuka honey is the queen bee of honeys. Sourced from bees who pollinate the flower Leptospermum scoparium, it is jam packed with Methylglyoxal an active ingredient which helps to fight inflammation, ward off colds and speed up healing. I prefer mine with an MGO rating of 30+.
9. Echinacea is a commonly grown herb from the daisy family. It is also known as the American coneflower and is renowned for its cold and flu fighting abilities. I am hoping to grow some next year but I am never without a box of Heath & Heather Organic Echinacea tea in my cupboard. It contains active ingredients to help the body’s immune function. A little Manuka honey in a cup of freshly brewed Echinacea tea and bob is your uncle.
10. What is a healthy article without kale? Don’t laugh though. That cruciferous green is popping with Vitamins A, B, C, E & K, fibre and proteins. Fit them in smoothies, juices, roasts, stir fries for some butt kicking magic this season. I love them roasted with a little soy sauce and garlic powder.
Do you currently eat any of these superfoods? How do you eat them? I would love to know.