Eat to Beat Cold & Flu Season
by Tracey Pollack
As you try to stay well this winter, forget the pharmacy and head to the grocery store. Eating certain nutrient-packed foods helps keep your immune system strong, which enables your body to fight off disease. So treat yourself to these six immune-boosting foods to survive this season of sickness.
- Squeeze in More Citrus – Ever wonder why so many people turn to vitamin C after coming down with a cold? That’s because it helps build up your immune system so your body can fight off infections. So get some vitamin C in your system to protect you from getting sick altogether! Some of the best sources of this flu-fighting vitamin are citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons and limes. With cold and flu season in the air, go grab some citrus to juice up your meals, along with your body’s natural defenses.
- Start Stalking Broccoli – This superfood is supercharged with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants that help your body fend off disease. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, help strengthen your immune response and prevent you from getting sick. See, these veggies contain a chemical compound called glutathione, which helps increase your body’s natural ability to fight off illness and infection. To maximize broccoli’s benefits, cook very little or not at all.
- Get Cultured with Yogurt – Come cold and flu season, your body is craving probiotics. These are the healthy bacteria found in yogurt that help your immune system fight off infections and germs. Research has shown that eating yogurt high in probiotics can help boost your immune response and reduce inflammation, which help your body fight off sickness. Yogurt is also full of vitamin D, which may also strengthen your natural defenses against disease.
- Warm Up to Chicken Soup –This bowlful of comfort may also be a spoonful of cure. Along with its power to protect you from illness, there’s nothing quite like it when you’re under the weather. So why may chicken soup be the best medicine? First of all, chicken is high in zinc, which is a mineral that boosts the body’s production of the white blood cells that fight infection. Next, the broth is brimming with collagen, which can help strengthen your immune system. And when the chicken cooks in the broth, it releases nutrients and amino acids that prevent the inflammation that weakens your immune system. So while chicken soup can be good for the soul, it’s may be even better for fighting off colds.
- Savor the Benefits of Garlic – Don’t turn your nose up at garlic because it’s been boosting immunity and fighting sickness for centuries. Renowned for its antiviral and antibacterial properties, research has shown that garlic stimulates the production of disease-fighting white blood cells, which help fight infections and prevent disease. To get the most bang for garlic’s bite, allow chopped garlic to sit for 15 minutes before cooking to increase its healthy compounds.
- Get Hooked on Fish – Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are swimming with omega-3 fatty acids that increase your white blood cell activity, which helps your body fight off infections. Your immune system also gets a healthy dose of vitamin D. So when you’re trying to fight off sickness, eating fatty fish can help tip the scales in your favor.
With cold and flu season at its peak, be in the market for these six immune-boosting eats for a better shot at staying well.