15 of the Best Superfoods to Fight the Flu

It seems like everywhere we turn, someone we know is fighting the flu. Flu season is definitely here in a BIG WAY and if you aren't taking care of your immune system, you may find yourself in bed for days. With a little intention, you can avoid sick days and keep your best foot forward. All you need to do is stock up on and consume the right super foods to keep your body healthy. That said, I  thought it would be appropriate to talk about some of the super foods that will keep your immune system strong. No one wants to miss work, special activities or even worse, feel like crap for days, so if you can go to your refrigerator instead of  instead of paying a copay for a doctors visit, consuming nutrient dense healing foods is the way to go.

 One of the best things you can do to ensure your body and immunity run smoothly  is by rounding out your plate with plenty of colorful servings of fruits and veggies, plus 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, at the very least. Add an extra flu-fighting punch to your winter meal plan by adding the following Superfoods: :

 

1. Yogurt/Kefir

Since one's overall health is a reflection of gut health, it is only important that we begin there. Probiotics, or the "live active cultures" found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs.  Consuming plain greek yogurt or kefir every day will ensure that your gut micribiome stay healthy and will ultimately ward off unwanted illness. In an 80-day Swedish study of 181 factory employees, those who drank a daily supplement of Lactobacillus reuteri—a specific probiotic that appears to stimulate white blood cells—took 33% fewer sick days than those given a placebo.
Your optimal dose: Two 6-ounce servings a day.

2. Oats and Barley

These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities more potent than echinacea, reports a Norwegian study. When animals eat this compound, they're less likely to contract influenza, herpes, even anthrax; in humans, it boosts immunity, speeds wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better.

Your optimal dose: At least one in your three daily servings of whole grains

3. Garlic

This potent onion relative contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria.  Studies suggest that garlic lovers who consume more than six cloves a week have a 30% lower rate of colorectal cancer and a 50% lower rate of stomach cancer.

Your optimal dose: Two raw cloves a day and add crushed garlic to your cooking several times a week.

4. Shellfish

Selenium, plentiful in shellfish such as oysters, lobsters, crabs, and clams, helps white blood cells produce cytokines—proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body. Salmon, mackerel, and herring are rich in omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation, increasing airflow and protecting lungs from colds and respiratory infections. Your optimal dose: Two servings a week (unless you're pregnant or planning to be).

5. Chicken Soup

When you’re sick, chicken soup is more than just a feel-good food with a placebo effect. It helps improve symptoms of a cold and also helps protect you from getting sick in the first place. Poultry, such as chicken and turkey, is high in vitamin B-6. About 3 ounces of light turkey or chicken meat contains 40 to 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of B-6. Vitamin B-6 is an important player in many of the chemical reactions that happen in the body. It’s also vital to the formation of new and healthy red blood cells.  An added bonus?? Stock or broth made by boiling chicken bones contains gelatin, collagen, chondroitin, and other nutrients helpful for gut healing and immunity. Your optimal dose: Have a bowl when feeling crummy.

6. Tea

Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where Green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, another powerful antioxidant. EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function.

Studies have shown that people who drank 5 cups a day of green or  black tea for 2 weeks have 10 times the immune boosting power of those who don't.  The amino acid that's responsible for this immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea—decaf versions have it, too.Your optimal dose: Several cups daily. To get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while you brew.

7. Beef

Zinc deficiency is one of the most common nutritional shortfalls among American adults, especially for vegetarians and those who've cut back on beef, a prime source of this immunity-bolstering mineral.  Even mild zinc deficiency can increase your risk of infection. Zinc in your diet is very important for the development of white blood cells, the intrepid immune system cells that recognize and destroy invading bacteria, viruses, and assorted other bad guys.
Your optimal dose: A 3-oz serving of lean beef provides about 30% of the Daily Value (DV) for zinc. That's often enough to make the difference between deficient and sufficient. Not a beef person? Try zinc-rich oysters, fortified cereals, pork, poultry, yogurt, or milk.

8. Sweet Potatoes

You may not think of skin as part of your immune system, but this crucial organ, covering an impressive 16 square feet, serves as a first-line fortress against bacteria, viruses, and other undesirables. To stay strong and healthy, your skin needs vitamin A which plays a major role in the production of connective tissue. One of the best ways to get vitamin A into your diet is from foods containing beta-carotene (like sweet potatoes), which your body turns into vitamin A.
Your optimal dose: A half-cup serving, which delivers only 170 calories but 40% of the DV of vitamin A as beta-carotene. They're so good, you might want to save them for dessert! Think orange when looking for other foods rich in beta-carotene: carrots, squash, canned pumpkin, and cantaloupe.

9. Mushrooms  

For centuries, people around the world have turned to mushrooms for a healthy immune system. The reason? Studies show that mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive toward fighting disease and illness.
Your optimal dose: Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms appear to pack the biggest immunity punch; experts recommend at least ¼ ounce to 1 ounce a few times a day for maximum immune benefits. Add a handful to pasta sauce, sauté with a little oil and add to eggs, or heap a bunch onto your homemade pizza.
 

10. Citrus fruits

Most people turn to vitamin C after they've caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells which are key to fighting infections. Popular citrus fruits include:
  • grapefruit
  • oranges
  • tangerines
  • lemons
  • limes
  • clementines
Because your body doesn't produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it's easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.

11. Red bell peppers

If you think citrus fruits have the most vitamin C of any fruit or vegetable, think again. Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, vitamin C may help maintain healthy skin. Beta carotene helps keep your eyes and skin healthy.Try tossing them in a veggie omelet or enjoy them raw with a little hummus for a healthy flu-fighting snack.

12. Broccoli

This veggie is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as many other antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate. The key to keeping its power intact is to cook it as little as possible — or better yet, not at all. Try steaming it to preserve its efficacy. I love it as a side with beef, or topped on a delicious protein bowl.

13.Ginger

Ginger seems to make its way onto every top 10 list I do, and for good reason. Ginger may help decrease inflammation, which can help minimize a sore throat  and other inflammatory illnesses. Ginger may also help decrease nausea. While it's used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. (great for boosting the metabolism) Additionally, Ginger may help decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties. Try adding Ginger to your green tea, infusing it in your water, or grate it and add it to your favorite stir frys.

14. Spinach

Spinach made my  list not just because it's rich in vitamin C, but it's also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. However, light cooking enhances its vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid. I toss it in my smoothies, add it to eggs, quinoa bowls, and of course eat it raw in salads.

15. Almonds

Rounding out my top 15 superfoods are Almonds. When it comes to preventing and fighting off colds, vitamin E tends to take a backseat to vitamin C. However, vitamin E  is key to a healthy immune system. It’s a fat soluble vitamin  meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts, such as almonds, are packed with the vitamin and also have healthy fats. A half-cup serving, which is about 46 whole, shelled almonds, provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E.

 Well, there you have it........ 15 Super foods that can be found in your own refrigerator and pantry that will totally boost your immune system and keep you healthy this flu season. If you are looking for some healthy ways to incorporate these and other superfoods in your diet, you may want to try my 7 day Jump start which will boost your metabolism, balance your body's ph, remove toxins and slough off unwanted belly fat. Check it out here!

https://bodybyruth.com/products/7-day-weight-loss-jump-start-1

 

Yours in Health!

Ruth


2 comments

  • Thanks Ruth! As always, great information!!

    Shane
  • Thanks Ruth! Very helpful info✔

    Alta Blake

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