Cold and Flu Fighting Foods

It’s here…cold and flu season! We all know getting the flu shot is one of the best defenses to avoid catching the flu, but how else can we boost our immunity?

Eating smart, staying active, getting enough rest and reducing stress are all important steps for year-round health. Several nutrients play a key role in boosting immunity:

1.Vitamin C -  protects you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity. 

Choose: Citrus fruits, berries, melon, tomatoes, and broccoli.

2. Probiotics - this “good bacteria” helps change or repopulate intestinal bacteria to balance gut flora which may boost immunity and overall health. 

Choose: Yogurt and/or kefir with live and active cultures.

3. Beta carotene -  is an antioxidant which helps regulate the immune system and protects from infection. 

Choose: Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and dark-green leafy greens.

4. Vitamin Eworks as an antioxidant, contributing to immune function. Coming up short on this nutrient may make your body less able to fight off an infection. 

Choose: Wheat germ, nuts, peanut butter and spinach.

5. Protein, zinc, and selenium -  each part of the body’s defense mechanism. Research is mixed on whether zinc lozenges or zinc syrup may actually shorten the duration of a cold. 

Choose: Seafood/meat, dairy, and legumes.

Thinking of taking herbals to help boost your immunity? Beware that some herbals, including Echinacea and panax ginseng, if taken longer than several weeks they may actually lower immunity.

What about the advice “Starve a cold and feed a fever”? To fight an infection, your body needs a supply of nutrients to build and maintain your natural defenses. If you don’t have much of an appetite, eat bland foods and try to eat more frequently. Focus on varied foods and plenty of fluids.

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, remaining active, and not skimping on your R&R time will help you to beat the bug this season. 

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