Fight the Flu: Immune Boosting Foods To Eat Now
There’s no way around it: cold and flu season is here.
Staying healthy can be a challenge, especially now. Exercise, a good night’s sleep, low stress and a healthy diet can all have a significant impact on our immune systems and ability to defend ourselves against bacteria and viruses. These foods pack a powerful punch when it comes to immune system support. Incorporate more of them into your diet and you just might escape flu-free.
One cup of oats is all you need to benefit from this high-fiber immune-boosting grain. Oats are high in zinc as well as the fiber “beta glucan” which can help win the fight against viruses and bad bacteria. Not all oats are created equally: choose steel cut over the instant variety which average 9-12g of sugar per serving. Yogurt is full of probiotics or the “good bacteria” that provide essential dietary and immune system support. Plain is best when choosing yogurt. If you prefer to enjoy it on the sweeter side, add a good quality honey for a double dose of immune-boosting power.
Sweet Potatoes contain two immune-strengthening nutrients: Vitamin C and beta-carotene, the powerful anti-oxidant which converts to Vitamin A. Kids especially love sweet potato fries. Slice them length-wise or use a spiralizer and pop them into your oven for curly-fry fun.
Chicken Noodle (or No Noodle!) Soup
There’s a reason why chicken noodle soup is good for the soul – it is one of the most effective ways to help fight a cold or flu. The soup’s clear, hot broth helps remove excess mucous and alleviates some of the symptoms associated with nasal congestion so that you can rest and breathe more deeply.
Not only does ginger help relieve sore throats and stuffy noses, this powerful root also promotes “healthy sweating” – the kind that helps you burn off a cold and flu. To make ginger tea, infuse freshly grated or peeled ginger with cinnamon, mint or cayenne (optional) and let steep for 10 minutes.
One clove of raw garlic contains more than 100 sulphuric compounds – enough to eliminate bacteria and infection.
Honey is a great natural sweetener that has antioxidant and anti-bacterial properties to help fight illness. Studies have shown that children with a cough due to cold who are given honey before bedtime cough less frequently during the night than children who are not, making it a great natural cough remedy. Local is best! Choose a pure, locally-produced honey from the local farmer’s market or from a merchant that buys from the farmer directly.
This superfood is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. An excellent source of copper, selenium, B vitamins and Vitamin D, mushrooms (especially shiitake, maitake and reishi) are known to help prevent disease as well as provide natural immune system support. You can actually boost the natural level of Vitamin D in mushrooms by exposing them to direct sunlight for up two days.
Herbal & homeopathic injections are also an excellent way to increase your body’s natural defense against the cold and flu. Just two seasonal injections provide additional immune support, especially if you’re prone to illness. Here’s to a healthy cold and flu season!
Yours in Health,
Dr. Ashely Gordon, BSc., ND