During cold and flu season, prevention is the best medicine is certainly true. That doesn’t mean locking yourself away for three months whilst you get better nut rather find a suitable remedy/remedies that can work for you.
It’s time to stock up your pantry/fridge etc. with immune-boosting fare. These 10 incredible foods are full of nutrients that will give you strong bug fighting and virus battling powers.
Next time you are out grocery shopping, slip these ingredients in your cart and you will soon boost your immune system and increase your vitality.
1) Homemade Bone Broth
Bones are not just for dogs. Bones, marrow and cartilage have some very beneficial nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and iodine. The collagen in bones breaks down when cooked and when it cools it becomes a protein called gelatin. Gelatin is not a complete protein, it has several important essential and non-essential amino acids which includes arginine, glycine and proline.
Store bone broth in the fridge and heat it up and sip it from a mug whenever you want some, 8oz. a day is very good for keeping viruses away.
Add some ingredients from this list for another boost to your health like garlic, onion or ginger.
2) Garlic And Onions
These bulbs may not be the best thing before a good night kiss but garlic and onions have long been known to provide boosts to your immune system.
Volunteers in a study who received a daily garlic supplement were less likely to get a cold and recovered faster if they did get sick.
The placebo group took more sick days and illness symptoms lasted longer. Allicin, a compound in garlic that gives it its pungency has been shown in studies to increase the body’s ability to fight off infection.
Garlic and onions are great for adding flavour to your favorite dishes, keep some chopped garlic and onion in your fridge, add a handful to a steak dinner or an omelette.
If you are bold, consume two garlic cloves daily to help fight off infections and boost immunity. Eat an apple to neutralise lingering odors.
3) Citrus Fruits
Famous American chemist Linus Pauling has shown that citrus fruits make a great snack and also are very high in vitamin C which is great for warding off the common cold.
In 2006 a Japanese study was published in The European Journal If Clinical Nutrition that shows that the chances of contracting three or more cold over a 5 year period was reduced by over 60% when people ingested more than 500mg of vitamin C per day.
Consume a grapefruit with your breakfast each day, include red/yellow bell peppers or broccoli with your lunch or dinner. Also snack on oranges, strawberies or kiwis.
Ginger contains some pretty potent chemicals called sesquiterpenes, this works to target runny noses and suppress coughs. Researchers have found that consuming fresh ginger inhibits attachment of rhinoviruses to cells and also helps promote secretion of antiviral chemicals to help fight viruses found in the mucus membrane.
Store ginger in a resealable bag to keep it fresh, only open when you plan to use it that day, shave a teaspoon of ginger into your tea, serve in a stir-fry or chew after dinner to aid digestion.
5) Fermented Foods
Pasteurized pickles, kimchi, kombucha, kefir and yogurt are fun to try and say three times as fast but are also filled with probiotics. Probiotics are just good bacteria that play an important part in balancing your body’s microbiome (the trillions of microorganisms that fill your body).
The healthy bacteria help balance your digestion, immunity and metabolism.
Proceed with caution when purchasing fermented foods, purchase fermented dairy low in sugar. All live culture food like pickles and cabbage should be purchased from the cooler, many health food stores offer fermented foods from local businesses allowing you to see where and how your food was prepared.
A single serving of Greek yogurt or fermented vegetables can provide much more benefit than a supplement.
6) Cold-Water Fish
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are full of omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation. Research has shown that fish oil rich in DHA increases B cell (white blood cell) function and select antibody production which helps in the fight against invasive bacteria.
Aim to eat 7-10 oz. of fatty fish per week, forget about mercury levels, the benefits outweight the slight risks, avoid canned tuna to avoid the risks.
7) Sweet Potatoes
A bright orange root vegetable which is a staple in many gym goers diet but sweet potatoes are not just a source of workout fuel.
They are rich in beta-carotene which causes the bright orange pigment which can increase t-cell function, this can lead to beating infections faster.
Keep cooked sweet potatoes in the fridge so they can be eaten at any time. Add them to a morning meal, put in a stew or as a side to grilled chicken (try for 150-200g).
This fungus is a great fighter against respiratory illness, mushrooms increase the production of antiviral proteins to get rid of nasty microbes that cause common colds and the flu.
You can serve mushrooms as a side dish or a salad topper, wash them well before eating. Brown stuff in the container is not dirt. Store mushrooms plastic wrapped in a container and poke small holes in the top for aeration.
9) Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium like tuna. Selenium is a trace mineral that boost cytokine production, these are proteins that support the immune system helping the body to respond to bacteria and viruses that latch onto you during cold and flu season.
Brazil nuts are a big dose of selenium so not many are needed. Aim to eat 3-4 nuts per day as well as your normal meals to maintain good health.
10) Pumpkin Seeds
Nutritionists love pumpkin seeds because of there high zinc content. Zinc has been shown time and again to reduce the duration of colds and improve normal immune function, however zinc is not the only nutrient superstar found in these salad toppers.
They are also great in the antioxidant department too containing high levels of manganese and many vitamin E forms, they also contain 5g protein per 1oz. serving.
If you don’t usually roast seeds in the oven then try to purchase pumpkin seeds with the shell still on them, the shell has a little zinc in it, the husk between the shell and kernel is full of nutrients.
In conclusion it is clear that these foods can really benefit you during the winter months especially when it comes to colds and flu as a lot of people suffer this time of year.