Summer is still hanging on in a few parts of the country, but the cooler mornings and leaves falling off the trees means we’ll soon begin spending a lot more time indoors. As beautiful as fall is, closer quarters means more spreading of germs. There’s no better time than now to begin to bolster your immune system for the germiest season of the year. One of the best ways to arm your family this season is by adding great tasting inflammation-fighting, immune-boosting foods and dishes to the daily menu.
These foods aren’t too exotic — in fact some of these are oldies but goodies when it comes to their immune-strengthening benefits. Here’s a nutritionist’s list of eight dietary choices to help protect you and the family as the weather turns cold.
It’s easy to add garlic to warm seasonal dishes, and it’s especially helpful when you feel a cold or flu possibly coming on. Garlic is a go-to immune-boosting spice that may help ward off most viral bugs. Whole garlic contains something calledallicin, which has been found to help fight off the cold and flu. Allicin is released when garlic is crushed or chewed.
If you feel a cold or the flu coming on, try making a homemade garlic bread using analmond-flour based bread, ghee orcoconut oil, and freshly chopped garlic. Dip it in (no sugar added) marinara sauce. Not only is it delicious, but it will help give your immune systemthat boost it needs to help fight off whatever germ may be attacking.
Ginger isn’t only amazing for when you are feeling under the weather, it’s also a great immune-boosting andanti-inflammatory spice to add to your diet duringcold and flu season. It also has powerful detoxing properties that help flush toxins from your body to ward off colds. Try sipping on some ginger tea each night, and brew a cup if you feel yourself getting sick.
In addition to making ginger tea, you can also sprinkle ginger into a smoothie, or make immune-boosting ginger chews with grass-fed gelatin, fresh ginger, turmeric, and some coconut oil for an added immune boost.
#3 Fatty Fish
Wild-caught fatty fish, like wild-caught salmon, is a great immune-boosting choice. It’s rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12 to help give your immune system what it needs to function at its best. Try enjoying wild-caught fishtwice per week. If you aren’t a fish fan, or you eat aplant-based diet, you can get omega’s into your diet by enjoying foods likewalnuts as well as chia, flax, and hemp seeds.
#4 Bone Broth
Grandma was onto something when she whipped you up a batch of her homemade chicken noodle soup when you were under the weather. As it turns out, homemade broth is actually a really great flu-fighting food. Not only is sipping broth a great way to preventdehydration when you are sick, it’s also ideal forgut health. Supporting the gut is one of the best ways to keep your immune system robust so that it’s better equipped to fight off germs.
#5 Dark Leafy Greens
Adding dark leafy greens to your diet isalways a good idea, but they are especially great for fortifying your immune system. Greens like chard, kale, spinach, and collard greens are packed full of vitamins C and E, as well as magnesium, zinc, calcium, and potassium to help support a healthy immune system. They also pack a healthy dose offiber to support the gut.
Try adding a handful of dark leafy greens to asmoothie for a daily immune-strengtheningsuperfood boost, or lightly steam them and drizzle someolive oil on top. They are also great in soups; drop some greens in your chicken bone broth for a truly healthy dish.
#6 Turmeric & Other Inflammation-Fighting Spices
Try making a turmeric milk latte with full-fat unsweetened coconut milk, ground turmeric, a pinch of cracked black pepper, and if you can tolerate hotter spices, try adding a small pinch of cayenne pepper to help fight congestion.
If you need another excuse to snack on this delicious fruit, here’s one: strawberries are loaded with vitamin C, which is crucial for a strong immune system. If they are available in your area this time of year, pick some up or buy frozen. They contribute to a delicious, creamy morning smoothie.
For a tasty immunity smoothie, blend unsweetened almond milk, strawberries, a frozen banana, some freshly ground ginger, and a scoop ofcollagen protein for added gut support.
#8 Multivitamin and Mineral Supplement
This isn’t exactly a food, but the rightfood-based multivitamin is an important daily supplement during cold and flu season, and for staying healthy year-round.Nutrient deficiencies weaken your system, so look for a food-based multi, to get the minerals that will be easiest for your body to absorb and use.
Don’t Let the Flu Get You Down This Season
Don’t be stuck in bed with the flu this year. Take the preventative steps necessary now to start bolstering your immunity, so when flu season hits, you’re are in tip-top shape. And if even if you do get it, you rebound faster.
Remember that it all starts with diet. With the right food choices, and a quality multivitamin, you will be well on your way to staying healthy this season all year long.