It’s that time of year again. Colds and various flu strains make the rounds, people stay home from work, the kids stay home from school, and everybody’s sick. Yuck.
Beyond washing your hands every thirty seconds, wearing a mask and gloves all the time and getting flu shots every year, you can help your immune system through your diet.
Eat your way to a stronger immune system with these foods:
Vegetarian Chili or Regular Chili
Believe it or not, chili is stuffed full of healthy eats. Jalapeno peppers contain capsaicin, which boosts the immune system and clears the sinuses. Onions and pepper have an anti-inflammatory effect. Onions and the garlic also have an anti-viral effect, something antibiotics can’t do. The beans have B-vitamins and fiber for the body, and if you have meat chili, that’s extra protein your body needs, as well as lysine.
While vitamin C won’t prevent a cold, it can help ease the symptoms and help to end the cold sooner. Limes, lemons, clematises, tangerines, oranges all contain vitamin C as well as antioxidants. Blood oranges and red grapefruit are the powerhouses of citrus and give far more bang for the buck. And they taste good.
Roast Beef Sandwich
Beef contains lysine, an essential amino acid. It also contains protein, which during a cold many people lack because of appetite loss. Zinc, a mineral proven to inhibit the growth of microorganisms, including cold viruses and bacteria abounds in beef.
Just two ounces served on whole grain bread provides the body with a meal. The whole grains provide fiber and B vitamins, and any added veggies boosts the antioxidant and vitamin levels.
Mom’s Chicken Soup
For years, doctors and scientists sneered at chicken soup as an “old wives tale.” How do they think wives got to be old? I always wondered if scientists didn’t think it worked, why then has it been in use for hundreds of years?
Through years of studies, scientists have figured out what Mom knew all along. Chicken soup works.
Remember the onions, garlic and pepper in the chili? They perform the same functions here, and as an added bonus, they work overtime to keep congestion and inflammation down.
The broth is soothing on a sore throat, and is the ultimate “comfort food.”
Tuna contains protein and glutamine, an amino acid believed to help prevent upper respiratory illness. A study at the University of Oxford showed that athletes who took glutamine after workouts were less likely to contract an URI than those who didn’t.
Add citrus, veggies and nuts for an immune-boosting meal.
Ginger Tea and Ginger Cookies
If your stomach isn’t up to full meals try this. Ginger has been used for centuries to calm upset tummies. It’s right up there with comfort foods, and it feels soothing to the throat and stomach lining.
Gently boil a tablespoon of raw ginger in three cups of water for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then strain. Add a teaspoon or two of honey for sweetener, and serve hot. Gingersnap cookies on the side also help provide congestion and tummy relief.
According to Brenda Krull, RD, Dietitian at Lehigh Valley Hospital, the body doesn’t always get what it needs when a person is ill.
We don’t feel good, so we don’t eat. We don’t want to pour cold water on our sore throats, so we don’t drink water. The result is, we stay sick longer and dehydration makes us feel worse.
What we really need when we’re ill, according to RD Krull, is protein and fluids. Juices, tea, milk, water, soups all provide fluid for the body. If the stomach isn’t up to a solid diet, soft foods such as apple juice, soft toast or pudding can help.
The above foods are easy to prepare. When I’m ill and don’t feel like cooking from scratch, a quick trip to the store wearing a dust mask (just explain you’re sick-no one will argue), canned soups, packaged pre- cut beef and salad veggies, ginger root and my favorite, ice cream. Hey, my stomach will get better- why not celebrate feeling good?
This article is untended for diagnosis of any medical condition nor advocate or prescribe any specific medication or treatment. Always seek the advice of a licensed physician for proper diagnosis or treatment of any disease or condition.
Source: Staff article, “6 Foods That Prevent Sickness,” Fitness Magazine Website, January 2006 issue
Source: Brenda Krull, RD, “Foods That Heal,” Web MD Website, no date given