Strengthen your immune system now and you just might avoid the flu altogether.
When it seems as if everyone around you is coming down with a nasty case of the flu, you know you’ve got to help give your body the best chance at warding off illness. Of course, you’ll be practicing good hand-washing habits, you got your flu shot earlier in the year, and you’re focusing on rest and relaxation. Those are all critical to your health. But don’t forget about your kitchen. It holds some surprising flu-prevention power.
Load up on members of the allium family, like garlic, onions, shallots, and chives. “Garlic has been shown to reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms by increasing the activity of natural killer cells”. Similarly, onions have properties that increase white blood cell counts, essential in fighting off pathogens.
Consider this winter the time for ‘shrooms. “There is scientific evidence that mushrooms have antiviral properties that can help strengthen your body against the flu virus.” That’s thought to be at least partly thanks to a type of carbohydrate they contain called glucans. Because each mushroom offers something a little different, optimize the immune-boosting benefits by incorporating a variety into your dishes, like shiitake, white button, and maitake.
Vitamin C has a reputation as a flu-fighting nutrient for a reason: There’s some research to indicate that the vitamin can shorten the duration of cold systems and help prevent illness in people who exercise. So often we reach for orange juice to shore up immunity. Instead, reach for the actual fruit, advises Charlotte Hammond, integrative registered dietitian of Eating with Ease. One cup of orange sections contains 160% of your daily need for vitamin C; a cup of grapefruit offers 120%. However, a cup of kiwi blows citrus out of the water, with 273% of your daily value of C.
Source Credit: Health Magazine