We are always looking for ways to reduce the affects of winter colds and flu but how about doing something to actually prevent getting them in the first place? While external measures work to some extent, the best solution for flu lies within you – your immune system. The immune system is designed to protect you against millions of bacteria, viruses, toxins and parasites that would love to invade your body. With a strong immunity you can easily ward off cold, flu and other such infections.
So how do you rev up your immune system? The answer is simple: through your diet. There are a wide variety of immune-boosting foods that can strengthen your immune system and provide a powerful line of defense against those nasty flu viruses.
Top 10 Immune Boosting Foods
- Garlic – Garlic is known for its immune boosting properties, and is usually the first line of treatment when it comes to treating cold, influenza or flu. The sulfur-containing compounds found in garlic, contribute to a healthy immune system. These compounds are extremely effective in fighting off viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Garlic is also a strong antioxidant and can protect against free radical damage in the body. Known for its antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, Garlic is truly a miracle food.
- Ginger – A hot cup of ginger tea can provide relief from cold and cough within minutes, and also ward off the flu virus. Ginger encourages the body to produce Dermicidin, a substance that helps in fighting off infections. Ginger also works well in treating digestion-related problems. You can add grated ginger to your salads or crush it and add to tea, whichever form you choose ensure that ginger is a part of your daily diet
- Goji Berry – The Chinese Goji berry is rich in Vitamin A and is known for its anti-aging properties. The special nutrients contained in this berry can enhance immunity, prevent heart diseases and protect vision. As per certain studies, Goji berry can also boost brain power and prevent against Alzheimer’s disease
- Yogurt – Yogurt is packed with healthy bacteria (Probiotics) that act as little soldiers lining the intestinal tract, and help in maintaining a healthy gut flora. . The intestinal bacteria are usually the first line of defense against many bacterial and viral attacks. Probiotics contained in yogurt are known to increase the body’s white blood cell count, thus boosting the immune system
- Echinacea Tea – This tea is made from the petals of the Wildflower Purple Coneflower. This flower is native to North America and is known to have immune boosting properties. Echinacea increases the activity of the immune system by stimulating white blood cell production in the body. It also effectively treats the respiratory complications associated with cold and flu. Drinking Echinacea tea can cut down your risk of contracting a cold or viral infection by half
- Oranges – ‘an orange a day’ can keep cold and flu away. With a high Vitamin C content and strong antioxidant properties, oranges work wonders in fighting off the cold virus. Vitamin C protects and maintains the skin, which is the body’s first line of defense against microbes and viruses of all kinds. It also increases the production of white blood cells and antibodies, and strengthens the immune system. Fruits such as strawberries, kiwi, papaya etc also work in the same way and are good for boosting the immune system.
- Elderberries – Elderberries have high amount of Vitamin C, which effectively fight off the flu virus. They are also extremely powerful antioxidants. Elderberries contain ‘cytokines’, a compound that helps the immune system recognize the attacking virus and triggers the body’s natural defense mechanism. You can use this berry for making jams, pies, juices and other tasty delights.
- Turmeric – Turmeric is a powerful spice that has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines since ancient times. It is also a common ingredient used in Asian cooking, and is known for its unique fragrance and flavor. Turmeric contains ‘curcumin’, a polyphenol with powerful cold and flu-fighting abilities. Turmeric also works as an anti-inflammatory agent and is a powerful immune booster. Add a pinch of turmeric to warm milk and drink it before going to bed. This is an age-old remedy that works well for treating flu and cold.
- Omega 3 – Mostly known for their heart-healthy properties, Omega 3 fatty acids also boost the immune system. They strengthen the cell membranes, making it harder for the bacteria or viruses to attack them. According to recent researches and studies, omega 3 increases the action of phagocytes which are white blood cells that protect the body by ingesting harmful bacteria and viruses.
- Oregano – Oregano, the tangy flavoring agent for your pastas and pizzas is essentially a herb with high antioxidant properties. Oregano contains high amounts of phenolic acids and flavonoids, which work as anti-inflammatory agents. Ancient Greeks used the extracted juice of oregano plants to treat viral and fungal infections. Oregano has anti-microbial and immune-booting properties, which protect against cold, influenza, flu and fevers.
A diet rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C can work wonders for your health, by boosting your immune system and providing effective protection against cold, flu and influenza. This season stock up on the colorful fruits, herbs and vegetables and give your immune system a boost.