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Foods that Will Boost Your Immune System into Full Gear this Winter

December 22, 2011

The cold crisp chill of winter is finally here and one way to ward off the flu and other colds can be found right in the isle of your supermarket.  The majority of colds come during the fall and winter season because most people stay indoors and bacteria and germs are easily transmitted from one person to another.  There are ways to prevent getting sick such as washing your hands properly and frequently, not sharing drinks or utensils with other people, and dressing appropriately for the weather.  However, nutrition can also be added to the list to prevent the common cold!  Boosting your immune system can help combat germs and prevent you from getting sick.  Eating fruits and vegetables of any kind will help a healthy immune system but some are higher in antioxidants than others. 

Here are some foods to keep your immune system at its best: 

  • Yogurt contains probiotics, also known as the good bacteria that line the intestinal tract to ward off invading germs.  Studies show eating foods such as yogurt, which are full of probiotics, boost the body’s immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells in the body.  
  • Red bell peppers contain vitamin C and although scientific proof is still in the works as to whether vitamin C can prevent colds, studies have shown increasing vitamin C can reduce the length of time cold symptoms will last and as well as reduce the severity of the symptoms.  Vitamin C is known to maintain the skin integrity, increase white blood cell count, as well as aid in production of antibodies.  Other sources of vitamin C include: berries, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet potato. 
  • Pumpkins are packed with beta-carotene that the body breaks down to make vitamin A.  Vitamin A helps the proteins that regulate communication between the cells, which is the foundation of the immune system.  Other foods that are packed with beta-carotene are squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes.   
  • Vitamin E is an immune boosting antioxidant that promotes the synthesis of the protein, interleukin-2, which kills bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells.  Sources of vitamin E can be found in broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds. 
  • Oysters are an excellent source of zinc.  Zinc is the mineral that takes place in most enzymatic functions, making it essential for the immune system since it is always reacting and signaling in the body.  T helper cells detect foreign antigens in the body and alert other cells; zinc enhances the function of helper T cells.  The best sources of zinc include lean meats such as beef, chicken, and seafood.  Vegetarians can choose pumpkin seeds, beans and mineral-fortified cereals to meet the recommended daily amount. 

 Immune Boosting Herbs 

  • Turmeric may have possible immune boosting properties and contain curcumin, a polyphenol that fights against strong cold and flu-fighting symptoms.
  • Garlic contains sulfur-compounds which fight against bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections.
  • Oregano has a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids.  When eaten, it can fight against common colds, influenza, fevers and indigestion.

 

Be sure to follow these immune boosting tips to keep you and your family at their healthiest! 

 What home-remedies do you use to prevent seasonal colds?

 

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Lea permalink
    December 22, 2011 11:44 am

    I’m so happy that you posted this. I seem to get sick every winter-but now that I know some foods to prevent it, I should be healthier! By the way- I had no idea tha theses foods can help build your imune system! Thanks!!!

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