Winter is here and the drop in temperature always seems to bring sniffles, colds and even the flu . It seems like getting sick during the winter months is inevitable and always happens at the most inconvenient times. However, there are some things you can do to make sure your body will set up its best line of defense. It is important to take good care of yourself during this time by exercising, getting sufficient sleep, managing stress, and eating nutritious foods. Try to eat plenty of these immunity-boosting foods to decrease your chances of getting sick.
- Yogurt and Fermented Foods: These foods contain live bacteria and probiotics that help strengthen your immune system and fight off diseases.
- Garlic: This vegetable contains a powerful chemical called allicin that fights off bacteria and even has anti-carcinogenic effects (meaning it fights off cancer). In addition, garlic contains anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
- Chicken Soup: Mom always knows best! Chicken soup keeps you hydrated and the broth stimulates mucus secretion, which helps to rid your body of bacteria and viruses.
- Mushrooms: These powerful fungi increase the activity of white blood cells that are responsible for immune function in your body. In addition, mushrooms are high in many vitamins that are good for the immune system including vitamin C and the B vitamins.
- Green Tea: Green tea contains catechins which are powerful antioxidants that help fight off viruses, including influenza.
- Oranges: This fruit is one of the best sources of vitamin C which helps your immune system to create more antibodies- cells that signal for your immune system to attack diseases and infections.
- Blueberries: Blueberries and other berries are extremely high in antioxidants that keep your immune system functioning at its best.
The list above contains just a few of the most powerful immune boosting foods. There are many other foods, especially produce, that have been shown to help keep away bacteria and viruses. So to keep your immune system functioning at its best, make sure to eat a well-balanced diet by loading up on fruits and vegetables, especially the ones listed above!
Natalie Senninger is a third year Dietetics major at The University of Dayton. She plans to become a Registered Dietitian.
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