We really do mean winter boost—as in immune boost, although we also recommend you put on your boots as well. Winter: ‘tis the season for colds and flu, but you can stay healthy. There are some simple ways to improve your immune system and ward off colds and viruses. It can be as simple as eating the right foods and exercising!
Foods that Boost your Immunity
Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in fish, flaxseed, and walnuts, reduce inflammation and help strengthen the immune system. Step up to at least two servings a week.
Zinc is important for white blood cells to function properly. The white blood cells are the cells that fight infection. Zinc is found in protein such as lean meats, chicken, eggs, and tofu. It is also found in fortified foods. It is important to eat adequate amounts of these zinc-containing proteins.
Fruits and Vegetables
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are loaded with phytonutrients. Phytonutrients improve the immune system and can help to fight cancers as well. Not to mention, they are just plain good for you. And they look good.
Citrus fruits contain vitamin C. This vitamin can help ward off colds. Although you can find it in supplements, it is probably more effective if you can get it in food such as oranges and grapefruit.
Nuts contain vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin that helps to fight colds and upper respiratory infections. The best nuts for vitamin E are sunflower seeds (1/4 cup per day), almonds (1/4 cup per day) and 2-3 Brazil nuts per day (they also contain selenium, which plays a key role in metabolism and contains antioxidants).
Garlic has immune boosting properties that fight bacteria and viruses. If you have a cold, the best way to use garlic is to chop it up and swallow it. You can use it as a paste on bread or mixed in applesauce. Don’t chew it if you don’t want your breath to smell!
The hot liquid of chicken soup clears the nasal passages. However, something else about most chicken soup helps boost the immune system and helps to fight colds. Whether it is the soup or the love with which it is cooked, chicken soup works!
Maitake, shitake, and reishi mushrooms are among the mushrooms that help boost the immune system. You can stir fry them or get them in capsules (fungi.com). Better yet, put them in your chicken soup.
Regular, moderate exercise allows the cells that fight viruses and bacteria to circulate more quickly throughout the body. While they are getting an energy boost, they give your immunity a big boost. The more you exercise, the longer lasting the immune effect. That is another reason why exercise is so important. Again, consider wearing your boots while boosting your immunity when exercising outside.
By eating well and exercising, you can increase your odds of having a healthy, cold-free winter despite the cold!