October marks the start of the cold and flu season. You’ve probably seen messages to receive your yearly flu shot everywhere you’ve been: in your local grocery’s pharmacy, on the news—and probably in an ad somewhere near this article you’re reading now. But flu shots are only just the beginning of what you could do to prevent catching the flu. You can further decrease your chances of catching it starting with the food you eat.
Immune System Boosters
- Citrus Fruits: You probably already know that Vitamin C is known to be the ultimate immune system booster, and that’s why it tops this list. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells that are critical in fighting infections in your body. It’s especially important to get a daily dose of Vitamin C because your body does not naturally produce it or store it. Try eating or including oranges, tangerines, limes and lemons, or grapefruits in your meals. Other Vitamin C boosters that are not citrus fruits include red pepper, kiwi, and papaya.
- Ginger: In addition to citrus fruits, ginger is another natural ingredient that is sought out after someone catches a cold, and similarly to Vitamin C, it is a proven cold and flu fighter. If you’re not a fan of its bitter flavor, you can use it as a spice in your meals or even in a smoothie mix to help mask its taste.
- Garlic: This super food has allicin, a known fighter of bacteria and infection. As a common spice, you can include garlic cloves in many of your meals to get a daily dose.
- Yogurt: This booster is packed with Vitamin D that helps regulate your immune system. Yogurt also contains “live and active cultures,”good bacteria that keep your digestive system free of germs that can cause disease.
Of course, there are more natural immune system boosters out there that you can find in the food you eat, but it all starts with your intake. How frequently you include these essential foods in your diet makes an even bigger difference than just eating them from time to time. As long as you have a daily dose of recommended vitamins and components, your chances of fighting the flu become that much greater.