Simple Foods to Boost Your Immunity
by Jasmine McNenny on Oct 21, 2015
No one likes to get sick, yet here we are again facing the cold weather blues of stuffy noses, sore throats, itchy eyes, and that nasty fall flu. So get your immune system shields ready, because even if you’re not sick, there are many people around you who are. Whatever your method of choice is for sickness prevention – vitamins, flu shots, hand sanitizer – you can still get a little extra help with these simple, yet powerful, immune system boosting foods.
- Yogurt – The same healthy bacteria (probiotics) in yogurt that helps reduce bloating, also protects you against disease in the gut and intestine. In order to get the benefits, the yogurt should say mention somewhere that it contains “live and active cultures.” Surprisingly this is harder to find at your regular supermarket. Livestrong lists only three well-known brands that contain probiotics: Activia, Yoplait Original, and Stonyfield. For a wider selection, try your local health foods store.
- Garlic – It’s not only delicious, it’s effective. Garlic contains allicin that wards off harmful bacteria and infections. One study showed consuming garlic makes it less likely that you will develop a cold. Other studies have linked garlic to lower rates of colon and stomach cancer. For its full effect, be sure to look up daily dose amounts and eat raw garlic along with cooked.
- Fish and Shellfish – Foods that have high amounts of omega-3, like salmon, reduces inflammation and helps keep the lungs free of respiratory infection. Shellfish, like oysters, crab, lobster, and clams contain selenium that helps white blood cells fight off the flu virus. Not a bad reason to go out for a lobster dinner!
- Oranges - Vitamin C is essential to a healthy immune system. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and other vitamin C rich foods are a key piece to keeping the flu at bay. With bioflavonoids, which are phytonutrients, oranges stimulate the production and function of your white blood cells, which attack foreign bacteria and viruses, reducing your chances of getting sick. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant.
- Oats and Barley – Apparently oatmeal is a great way to start off your day. Grains like oats and barley contain a fiber called beta-glucan that acts like an antioxidant in the body. Studies have shown that eating oats and barley strengthens your immune system and may protect again the flu while also improving the effectiveness of antibiotics.
- Chicken Soup – Yep, just like mom used to make. There is still debate about what in chicken soup actually helps prevent colds. Some studies have pointed to cysteine, an amino acid released by cooking chicken, which is chemically similar to a bronchitis drug. Others say the hot, salty broth thins mucus to prevent congestion. Regardless, chicken soup is simply delicious when you’re feeling low, and the fact that it also helps to block cold symptoms is just icing on the cake.
Eat Healthy, Stay Healthy!
For a more exhaustive list check out: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/ss/slideshow-immune-foods