The days are getting shorter, the air has turned crisp and the trees are all but bare. Autumn has, indeed, arrived, along with our increasing susceptibility to colds and flu. Coach Stacy has provided a Ten Step Prevention Game Plan for avoiding illness – including a well balanced diet. But believe it or not, there are foods you can eat that actually help prevent the onset of colds or the flu by boosting your immunity:
- Citrus Fruits and Berries: Oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi and papaya – they’re all packed with immune-boosting Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps increase the production of white blood cells, your body’s first defense in fighting disease.
- Leafy Green Vegetables: These contain Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that promotes the production of bacteria fighting B-cells. Eat a lot of spinach, kale and broccoli to ward off cold and flu germs.
- Salmon: Coldwater fish such as salmon and mackerel are excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids, which are great for heart health, but also for strengthening cell membranes against attacking germs.
- Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds: Both types of seeds are all-around healthy snacks and toppings, when eaten in moderation. In addition, pumpkin seeds contain beta carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A, which assists those infection-fighting white blood cells. Sunflower seeds are packed with Vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant and immune booster.
- Yogurt: Live active cultures contain probiotics (the good kind of bacteria) which play a huge role in keeping harmful bacteria out of the gut. One serving of organic or plain yogurt per day will serve to improve immune function in most people.
- Sweet Potatoes and Carrots: Served cooked or raw both of these vegetables contain Vitamin A, which plays a strong role in immune defense, but also assists the liver in flushing out harmful toxins from the body.
- Mushrooms: Try tossing a handful of these in your salad or stir-fry a couple of times per week. Mushrooms contain selenium which helps your white blood cells fight bacteria and infections.
- Garlic: Not only does garlic enhance the flavor of many dishes, but it also acts as a powerful antioxidant. Garlic is composed of the sulfur-containing compounds allion and allicin, which serve to literally “stink out” various infections.
- Tea: Drink tea daily to strengthen the body’s immune defense system. Tea contains catechins, which combat free radicals.
- Lean Beef and Pork: Not only does their protein serve as building blocks for bones, muscles and blood, these meats also contain iron and zinc, both of which help the immune system function optimally.
So there you are – ten flu fighters to keep you healthy and vibrant all winter long. Eat ‘em up!