‘Tis the season…to protect ourselves from colds and flu.
With the cold weather comes sickness that seems to spread like wildfire. Taking care of our health during this time is vital to our productivity in the home, on the job, at school, and in any other activities in which we are involved. We do have an amazing tool to fight off infection and viruses. The foods that we choose to put on our plates and into our bodies can boost our immune system, which provides protection against colds and flu. Making sure our bodies receive the proper nutrition will help our defense tremendously.
Here are seven foods that will improve our immunity during cold and flu season:
Citrus fruits – When I was younger, I was fed many oranges and grapefruits on a daily basis, especially during the cold and flu season. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant that helps to protect the white blood cells from free radical damage and infection.
Sweet Potatoes – This sugary tasting orange potato is packed with beta carotene. Beta carotene converts to vitamin A to protect the skin from bacteria and viruses. It also protects the cells of the body from free radicals.
Garlic – Garlic contains a compound called allicin. This colorless compound has a distinctive smell. When it decomposes in the stomach, it produces an acid that binds with harmful free radicals and fights off various infections and bacteria.
Fish – Fish actually has a couple of key ingredients which are vital in boosting immunity. Fish contains selenium to boost the white blood cell count and strength. Certain fish also contain omega-3 fatty acids to protect the lungs from infection.
Mushrooms – Medicinal mushrooms increase production of white blood cells. It is unknown what exactly in this fungi causes this increased production. Eat mushrooms raw or lightly cooked with olive oil for the best results.
Spinach – This dark green leafy vegetable is packed with various bioflavenoids. Spinach, especially if eaten raw, neutralizes free radicals in the body and helps to prevent disease.
Yogurt – Yogurt and other dairy foods contain zinc, a mineral used to reduce the severity and duration of the cold and flu. Zinc also inhibits viruses and infections from attaching to healthy blood cells.
Cod Liver Oil – Even though this is not an actual food, for some reason, my mother gave me a tablespoon of this oil starting in November and ending in March, and it helped me to not catch colds as quickly. There is not much evidence, however, that cod liver oil makes a difference in preventing colds and flu from happening.
It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Feed your body properly before infections or viruses hit. Stay well throughout the season.