The outdoor temperature is continuing to drop, the days are getting shorter, and you frequently find yourself in a struggle against the cold, brisk wind when you step outside your home. Then you begin to hear it; the faint sound of the sniffing noises surrounding you on all sides. Next you hear the choir of raspy voices and the echos of coughing while out in public. And as the terrible ringing out of sniffles and coughs grows louder and louder, you know the most dreadful season of the year has arrived and it will be taking no prisoners; cold and flu season! Many people this flu season will suit up in face masks, going out only while fully equipped with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer to protect themselves from germy hot zones at school or work. But rather than obsessively disinfecting doorknobs, and going through gallons of hand sanitizer, why don’t you try boosting your immune system through the foods you eat. In an article written by Bonnie R. Giller, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, Keeping yourself healthy with Immune Boosting Foods, she shares several immune boosting foods to nourish your body when cold season is at it’s peak.
Here are some of the foods that Bonnie recommends:
Grapefruit. All citrus fruits are loaded with Vitamin C which is one of the key vitamins for keeping your immune system strong. They also contain flavenoids; which increases immune system activity.
Almonds. Vitamin E is the antioxidant that is abundant in almonds and you only need ¼ cup to obtain 50% of your daily needs. Almonds are also the perfect on-the-go snack because they provide plenty of protein to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
Yogurt. A recent study conducted by Danisco, maker of prebiotic products, has shown that only 1/2 cup of low-fat yogurt per day can reduce your chances of catching a cold by up to 25%. The prebiotics in yogurt directly combat against cold viruses and block their ability to replicate and invade our bodies.
I also suggest you try some of these immune boosting drinks:
Green tea. Green tea has been shown to be a star player in keeping us healthy. It has been shown to play a role in boosting our metabolism, lowering cholesterol levels, and may even have some anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects thanks to the catechins (another specific type of antioxidant) it contains. With all those benefits, why not reach for a cup of hot green tea to warm up on a chilly night?
Cranberry Juice. Cranberry juice is not only just another rich source of vitamin C, but it’s also commonly used for prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Recent research has shown that the unusual nature of the proanthocyanidins (PACs) in cranberries are the most probably reason for this and may also be beneficial to warding of bacterial infections in other areas of the body as well.
Homemade Fruit Smoothies. Throw in some strawberries for vitamin C, some spinach for folate, some shredded carrots for Beta-carotene, and a bit of ground flax seed for omega-3s and added dietary fiber and you’ll have yourself one delicious immune boosting and nutritious cocktail.
Providing your body with a healthy and balanced diet, full of these nutritious foods and beverages is a great way to give your immune system an extra boost this cold and flu season. Wishing everyone good luck staying healthy and strong this year, and p.s., don’t forget the hand sanitizer!!!
For more Immune Boosting Foods check out Bonnie’s blog The Nutrition Key with BRG.
What is your battle plan for keeping you and your family healthy this cold/flu season?
An Intern Behind the Plate,
The Nutrition Key with BRG is a blog written and maintained by Bonnie R. Giller, MS, RD, CDN, CDE. Bonnie is one of Around the Plate’s Nutrition Experts and is a member of thePlate Community. As a Nutrition Expert, Bonnie makes eating healthy simple. Find other nutrition experts, recipe gurus, and healthy eating champions on our community blog network.