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by Erin McKinney, FNP
When it comes to fighting the common cold and flu with natural ingredients, there are a few vitamins and minerals that many doctors recommend including in your diet. Rather than taking lots of supplements each day, certain foods provide you with these immunity-boosting nutrients. If you want to avoid the cold and flu bugs this winter, perhaps you should think about adding these foods to your diet.
1. Citrus Fruits – Fruits such as oranges and tangerines contain lots of Vitamin C, which helps your body produce white blood cells and antibodies to fight cold and flu viruses. They also contain bioflavonoids, which keep your body from oxidizing the vitamin C and allowing you to gain more of its benefits. While orange juice can give you some of the same benefits, it contains more sugar.
2. Whole Grains – Grains such as oats, barley, whole wheat, and millet contain beta-glucan, which activates the immune system and help it work more effectively. They also have Vitamin E, and antioxidant that produces cells designed to kill germs and bacteria in the body.
3. Carrots – Carrots are known for their benefits that come from beta carotene, which increase the amount of infection-fighting cells in the body. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
4. Garlic – Garlic has allicin, which is a natural antibiotic that stimulates the immune system. It also contains selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant that fights infection.
5. Legumes – Beans, lentils, and other legumes contain zinc, which helps white blood cell production. While many people take zinc supplements to fight colds, too much can actually inhibit our immune systems. It’s best to get zinc from a healthy diet.
6. Berries – Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries all contain lots of antioxidants that will help fight free radicals in the body. They also contain lots of Vitamin C, which is another immunity booster.
7. Kale – Raw kale is another food that’s rich in Vitamin C, which protects cells against damage during infection. However, cooking it will break down the nutrients. It’s also low in sugar and high in fiber, which makes it a healthy part of any diet.
8. Yogurt – Yogurt that contains live active cultures adds good bacteria to your system, which stimulate the body’s production of white blood cells and T-cells. This bacteria also helps the body absorb nutrients from other foods.
9. Nuts –Nuts contain a number of immunity-boosting ingredients, such as zinc, selenium, and Vitamin C. Certain nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, and pistachios have been particularly noted in different studies for their health benefits.
10. Mushrooms – Mushrooms have long been a cold and flu remedy in many Asian countries. They contain beta-glucan, which stimulates the immune system. Reishi, Shitake, and Maitake mushrooms are said to contain the most beta-glucan of the mushroom family.
This article was written by Erin McKinney, who is a licensed nurse practitioner. Erin also owns the site <a href=http://www.mastersofnursing.org>Masters of Nursing</a> for students interested in getting an advanced degree in the nursing field.
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