During cold and flu season, most people stock up on either chicken soup or orange juice. While these two items can help prevent or manage the symptoms of an illness, they are not the only ones.
There are some surprising foods that are both delicious and capable of giving your immune system the necessary boost to get you through the winter unharmed. Next time you’re grocery shopping, throw these five items into your cart. If you suddenly begin to feel ill, you’ll be grateful. Eat enough of them and perhaps you can avoid so much as a light cough.
For decades, the primary perception of garlic has been its profound ability to give you bad breath and its capacity to ward off vampires. Yet recent research has indicated that garlic has surprising immune boosting properties.
Not only does it seem to strengthen the immune system and fight off infection, but it may also have antibacterial and antiviral capabilities. It is best consumed when raw or lightly processed. Keep some fresh garlic on hand at all times.
Naturally, when you think of orange foods, you generally think Vitamin C. Yet orange vegetables actually contain a half dozen ingredients that are capable of giving your immune system a boost. Sweet potatoes, squash, and pumpkins are all high in Vitamin A.
This vitamin and its precursor Beta-Carotene are capable of enhancing the functionality of your immune system as well as improving and strengthening your skin, which is your body’s first line of defense against infection.
Yogurt and Kefir
Most good quality yogurts and kefirs (another fermented milk variation) contain little microorganisms called probiotics. These are generally called the “good bacteria” that help regulate proper digestion. Aside from helping you avoid diarrhea and constipation, probiotics have also been shown to be capable of reducing the severity and duration of colds and the flu. Eat at least one serving a day to reap a wide variety of health benefits.
Oysters are very likely not the first thing that comes to mind when “health food” is mentioned. Nonetheless, they are possibly one of the healthiest foods that you could possibly eat. Low in carbohydrates and fat and extremely high in protein, oysters also contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
Amongst these are zinc (extremely helpful at reducing the duration of cold and flu symptoms), iron, selenium, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Diets even somewhat low in Zinc can have drastic effects on your immune system.
Green tea (and it’s cousins black, white and red tea) is an excellent source of the plant antioxidants known as polyphenols. These helpful substances actually help prevent cell damage in your body and boost your immune system significantly.
Recent studies found that individuals who drink moderate to high levels of green tea are actually more resistant to viral infections. A hot cup of green tea is also capable of relaxing you (and soothing a sore throat). Perhaps best of all, these effects are also found in decaffeinated versions, so you can drink as much as you’d like.