Getting through flu season without coming down with the virus is often an uphill battle for people. With immune systems running on empty during the winter months thanks to a lack of Vitamin D from the sun, it is vital that you eat foods that will help your immune system fight back!
This year, it isn’t just the flu that people are concerned with. The coronavirus is also spreading quickly, and if it does impact the United States, it’ll be important for your immune system to be in the best shape possible. That means you need to eat right.
- Ginger – Try some ginger tea or cook with fresh ginger root. When it comes to treating a common cold (which is a virus), ginger is one of the best foods for relief. In one study, researchers summarized that ginger’s potent anti-inflammatory properties were key in the root’s powers to combat a cold or flu. Because inflammation can affect your body’s immune response, anti-inflammatory ginger can play a key role in boosting your immunity.
- Water – While this is technically not a food, staying hydrated is essential for keeping your immune system running like a well-maintained machine. And, if you do get sick, staying hydrated can help loosen that nasty trapped mucus to relieve pressure. Try drinking at least the recommended eight glasses of water a day to keep yourself fully hydrated since we tend to lose more fluids when we’re sick.
- Oranges – Oranges contain a lot of vitamin C, which is also important for your immune system. According to a review conducted by the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, at the Australian National University, vitamin C is helpful in preventing the common cold and other viruses for people exposed and can help lower the duration and severity of a cold.
- Broccoli – Broccoli can be considered a superfood because of how nutrient-dense this vegetable is. University of California in Los Angeles researchers reported broccoli can be a great addition to our diet if you’re trying to prevent a cold. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables were proven to help boost immunity, according to the study. Researchers claim that sulforaphane, a chemical in the vegetable, switches on antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells, which combat free radicals in your body and prevent you from getting sick.
- Garlic– Garlic has built a reputation for being one of the best cold-curing foods, and for good reason. It isn’t just an “old wives tale.” A review of the food published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showed that a group of participants in a study who ate garlic over a three-month period only had 24 cases of the common cold total, a significant decrease in comparison to the 65 cases reported by the control group. However, the researchers noted more studies need to be conducted in order to validate garlic’s true impact on the common cold.
Keep in mind that any citrus fruits that are high in vitamin C can be eaten, not just oranges. You also want to make sure you are getting enough sleep, and refraining from drinking alcohol or smoking in excess. While it is true that you can always wear a face mask to help prevent the flu or coronavirus infection, it never hurts to fortify the body from the inside out!