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 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. Be proactive and add an extra flu-fighting punch to your winter meal plan by adding the following Superfoods to your diet:
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
11. Red bell peppers
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!
Yours in Health!