It’s hard to believe we’re almost at that time of year—cold and flu season, that is. Now is the time to stock up on basics and defend yourself with nutrition. Maintaining a healthy immune system is your best defense against influenza. In fact, taking a proactive approach will keep you healthier year round. Read these tips on how to stock your pantry with delicious and nutritious foods and snacks. Follow the simple steps below, and you may avoid the tissue box this year.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C has been found by scientists to be an effective antiviral agent. Besides citrus, try kiwi fruit, mango, and strawberries. Vegetables high in vitamin C are peppers, parsley, broccoli, and kale.
- Vitamin A — Think red and orange–cantaloupe, guava, papaya, passion fruit. For veggies, eat leafy green vegetables and the cruciferous family (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage)
Vitamin B6 — B6 plays a role in the creation of antibodies in the immune system. Eat plenty of avocados, bananas, and pomegranates. Here’s your chance to increase your intake of legumes. All beans, (kidney, navy, white, black, etc…) have very high amounts of B6 along with brown rice, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and hard wheat.
- Vitamin E – Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E plays a significant role as an antioxidant. Use olive or canola oil. Blackberries, black currants, and boysenberries have adequate amounts of Vitamin E. Snack on almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts.
- Selenium – Selenium increases immune cell production. Find excellent sources in shellfish, lobsters, crabs, and clams. Brazil nuts are exceptionally high in selenium. Try adding wheat, rice, or oat bran to breakfast cereals or breads to boost your intake.
- Boost T cells with tea — The Chinese have known the healing power of green tea for generations. Many believe that the unprocessed tea leaves can help to prevent or even cure many chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and dementia. Research now confirms that consuming tea can help your immune system to operate at peak efficiency to fight those invading germs. Add ginger-another great immune booster.
The only cure for colds and flus is your body’s immune system, which means staying focused on nutrition–not antibiotics. Most cold and flu medications only mask symptoms, while you are still contagious to others.
Remember that most colds and flus are caught by placing your infected hands to your eyes or nose, so washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do outside of diet. And don’t forget to drink water, 8-10 glasses a day. Let the battle begin!