It seems like every year we hear the strains of flu are getting stronger and stronger. Supporting your immune system with a low sugar healthy diet is an absolute must if you want to keep the germs at bay. In fact, even if you do choose to get a flu shot, there are colds and other viral illnesses out there that could impact you.
So it’s important to do everything you can to boost your immune system this fall and winter, and one of the very best ways to do so is through the foods you eat. There are many immune-boosting foods that can help you stay healthy all year long, but the following five really stand out from the rest, and should be at the top of your list this season. You will want to start enjoying these foods as soon as possible... because the sooner you start strengthening your immune system, the better.
The Best Anti-Cold & Flu Foods
Elderberry is extremely beneficial for immune health. You can purchase an elderberry syrup from your local health food store or online. Or, you can make your own using dried elderberries, water, honey, and some ginger. Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, all of which help support the immune system. Elderberry syrup can be preventative, but it is also commonly used to help fight respiratory infections. If you already have a cold or flu, taking elderberry syrup may be able to shorten the length of time you are sick.
Turmeric is commonly known a potent inflammation-fighting spice, but it is also an excellent immune-boosting food. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years to aid the immune system in Ayurvedic medicine, due to its active component, Curcumin. In fact, while adding turmeric to your diet can boost your immune system, you can get even better results by taking a curcumin supplement daily.
To keep your immune system optimal all year long, add this excellent healthy fat to your diet. You can add coconut oil to smoothies and other foods for a great immune boost. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid which possesses some impressive anti-microbial properties. If you are already sick, adding coconut oil to your recipes is a great way to help restore energy levels, as the medium-chain fatty acids in the oil are used in the body for energy instead of being stored as fat.
Incorporating this special honey into your diet during cold and flu season is an ideal way to keep you healthier. However, not all honey is created equal. You will want to stay away from the honey found in the cute little plastic bear jars sitting on supermarket shelves. These honeys are often refined and most of the nutritional value has been removed during the manufacturing process. Manuka honey, on the other hand, is extremely beneficial for your immune health. Though more expensive, a little goes a long way.
Manuka honey comes from bees in New Zealand, and the honey contains powerful antibacterial properties; so much so that New Zealand hospitals use Manuka honey to help fight off wound infections. A study published in Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, found that Manuka honey was able to kill off bacteria that commonly causes sinus infections better than antibiotics! This honey may be a useful preventative measure during cold and flu season but can also help soothe a sore throat and cough while fighting \an active infection. You can enjoy this honey right from the jar or dissolved in a mug of hot herbal tea.
Not only does garlic add a delicious flavor to countless dishes, it also helps support your immune system. Enjoy fresh garlic to help fight off an infection, and include it in your diet all year long to help keep your immune systems strong. Garlic contains allicin, which is where it gets its potent smell and taste. It’s also what’s responsible for the health-promoting benefits. Garlic can help fight off viruses, and may also be able to reduce the severity of some of the symptoms associated with a cold or flu. To help activate the allicin in the garlic, try crushing or chewing the garlic instead of swallowing it whole.
Summing It Up
So don’t underestimate the power of nutrition. In addition to adding these 5 immune-boosting foods to your diet, make it a goal to reduce the amount processed foods in your diet, as these foods can weaken your immune response. But there’s more you can do!
Additional Ways to Stay Healthy This Year
- Reduce your stress levels by practicing some form of stress reduction daily, like meditation, or yoga.
- Move your body! Try to exercise at least four times a week.
- Supplement with Vitamin D. This powerful vitamin is essential for immune function, and most Americans don’t get enough during the colder months.
- Wash your hands! Hand washing is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs.
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is a great way to flush out toxins from the body and remove built-up mucus.
Follow these guidelines and enjoy a healthier holiday season this year.