With the seasons changing and the weather in constant flux, many people become more susceptible to illness. Temperature shifts permit new groups of viruses to grow, and those that are responsible for the common cold flourish when it’s mild and cool outside. This makes early spring the best time to boost your immune system, safeguarding against these nasty bugs, and protecting yourself when others around you could be contagious.
One way to kick start your immune system is by ensuring you include a source of lean protein in every meal. The antibodies (substances produced by our cells to help them identify foreign particles such as bacteria and viruses) that help you ward off sickness are in fact composed of proteins; the stronger and more abundant your antibodies, the less your risk for infection.
Eggs are one simple and filling, protein-rich ingredient you can add to almost any meal; sweet or savory. What’s more is that they contain a complete amino acid profile, meaning the 6.3 grams of protein found in each large egg contains a perfect balance of the nine amino acids required for a human body to function optimally. Add them to a bed of leafy greens and throw in some walnuts for good measure – you’ll be kissing that box of Kleenex goodbye!
For a twist on your typical salad, try this layered variationfrom getcracking.ca; it’s a great new-twist-on-an-old-favourite recipe that also packs a healthy punch. Place lettuce in the bottom of a large bowl – addinglayers of sweet peppers, mushrooms and celery.Spread ½ cup (125 mL) of mayonnaise over the celery. Then, layer remaining lettuce, peppers, mushrooms and celery.Top it off with hard-cookedeggs and a final layer of mayo. To make the recipe more mouth-watering, sprinkle some cheese or bacon bits to finish then refrigerate for 24 hours. This salad tastes best once the flavours have had some time to sit.
This recipe is also very versatile and can be altered to taste. Use romaine lettuce for a darker, leafier option or if you want to stock up on those vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants – add more vegetables into the mix. Try including some carrots, onions, green peas, chickpeas, broccoli, or cucumbers; chickpeas especially will provide some extra protein in preparation for cold season. Adding tofu or avocados is an option too for improving heart function.
Don’t put yourself at the mercy of a potential seasonal infection, now is the time to pack in those fruits and veggies, healthy meats like lean beef or salmon, and eggs, while cutting out the toxins (such as alcohol, and saturated fats) that so easily supress immunity. Promote the creation of antibodies by increasing your protein intake, guaranteeing that next time someone gets sick at the office, or your child forgets to wash their hands after school – you won’t have anything the worry about.