Foods that Boost Your Immune System

Foods that Boost Your Immune System

by Annette Doody
Savory Bistro Owner and Wellness Coach

Dear Annette:
Kids are back in school and cold and flu bugs are already showing up. I hear food is medicine, but can diet really help prevent a cold or flu?

Dear Reader:
Yes, flu and cold bugs have started to make rounds. There is absolutely no doubt that having a strong immune system can help prevent such illness. Should a bug get you at a weak moment when you’re tired or stressed a stronger immune system will mean faster recovery of the illness and less severity of the symptoms. It is false to think a flu shot gives you absolute protection. These bugs morph and change and may not always match the what is in the flu shot. So, for extra protection you need to build your immune system up. Cleveland Clinic has given some great guidelines for building your immune system to fight colds and flu. It really is easy.

  • Eat closer to the Mediterranean Diet
  • Increase fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies that contain omega 3, vitamin D, and antioxidants
  • Increase intake of almonds, hazelnuts.
  • Increase chicken, turkey, beans, and kale for extra iron
  • Garlic and broccoli contain selenium that slow an over responsive immune system
  • Asparagus, garlic, jicama, greens and onions contain “pre-biotics”
  • Beans, yogurt, crab, oysters contain zinc
  • Citrus fruits contain vitamin c
  • Bananas, chickpeas contain vitamin B6
  • Beans, peas and leafy greens contain folic acid

Eating a diet rich and fruits and vegetables really help build the immune system and give protection. Most people only eat a cup of vegetables a day. We need to be eating at least four or five cups each day…half of our dinner plate. Try upping your intake by monitoring how many cups of vegetables you and your family are eating daily. If it is less than three to four cups you have set yourself and your family up to fall victim to the cold and flu bugs.

Remember that essential oils can also be helpful in building the immune system. They are from plants and are a part of our food system. For flu protection, I start this time of year using the oils in infusers, in my bath, and on the soles of my feet.

Great oils for influenza protection are:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • White fir
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Clove

Lastly remember movement and deep breathing stimulate the lymphatic system which is really the highway for our immune system. Get moving!

Be Healthy and Happy,

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