Foods That Will Help You During Flu Season
5 Foods That Boost Your Immune System
For a strong immune system, you know you should wash your hands, get plenty of rest, and stay hydrated. But did you know that eating these five foods can help you to keep your immune system strong?
Add These 5 Foods to Your Immune-Boosting Diet
1. Pomegranates: This fun-to-eat fruit is packed with powerful antioxidants and vitamin C to help boost your immune system. Plus, it helps to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, supports nitric oxide production, and may reverse atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Pomegranates are also high in fiber, which can help support healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels and they also help to slow the progression of prostate cancer.
2. Garlic: This pungent member of the onion family contains several compounds—including allicin—that have antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties. Together, they boost your immune system throughout the cold and flu season. Plus, garlic is an excellent natural blood thinner, helps to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, and may protect the blood vessels from developing atherosclerosis.
3. Onions: Onions are filled with immune-boosting nutrients like selenium, sulfur compounds, zinc, and vitamin C. Plus, they’re one of the best sources of quercetin, a potent flavonoid and antioxidant that has antiviral properties as well as histamine regulating effects—in fact, you can think of quercetin as a “natural antihistamine.” For your heart, onions provide a myriad of benefits. They contain quercetin which helps to prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, promote relaxation of vascular smooth muscle, prevent clot formation, and even help to lower blood sugar.
4. Ginger: Ginger is filled with immune-boosting benefits, making it one of my top “go to” ingredients in many of my healthy recipes. First off, ginger is antibacterial so it helps support the immune system and it can help to prevent nausea and soothe an upset stomach. Ginger is also a natural blood thinner and contains a phenolic anti-inflammatory compound called gingerol that may be responsible for relaxing blood vessels.
5. Broccoli: This delicious cruciferous vegetable is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat. It contains vitamin K, vitamin E, chromium, potassium, magnesium, and folic acid. Plus, it’s loaded with immune-boosting vitamin C. There are also compounds in broccoli called indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane that exhibit anti-cancer effects. Sulforaphane also turns on the body’s ability to generate antioxidants which help to fight off harmful free radicals.
To stay healthy, I encourage you to include as many of these immune-boosting foods to your diet as you can. Here are some of my favorite immune-boosting recipes.
Recipes to Boost Your Immune System
Immune-Boosting Flu Buster
This is one of my family’s favorite immune-boosting remediest. The ginger-cayenne combination helps to warm your body by increasing blood flow. You can drink it when you are feeling under the weather, or as a preventative measure to keep your immune system primed when everyone else around you is sick.
- 1 organic apple
- 1-2 organic lemons
- 4 organic oranges
- 1 2-inch piece of fresh ginger
- 1 Tbsp. honey (raw, unpasteurized if available)
- 1/8 tsp. turmeric powder (optional)
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 cup filtered water
There are two ways to prepare the Flu Buster:
1. If you have a juice extractor, juice the apple and ginger together. Then, freshly squeeze the lemons and oranges. Combine all the contents (juice from apple/ginger, and juice from oranges/lemons, honey, turmeric, and pinch of cayenne) into a mug and add some boiling water to taste.
2. If you have a Vitamix® or Blendtec® blender, blend the apple, ginger, and one cup of hot water on high for 20 seconds. Then, strain the fiber using a fine stainless steel strainer or cheesecloth. Combine the liquid contents from the blender with freshly squeezed lemons and oranges, honey, turmeric, and cayenne. If you choose, you can warm it up on the stove to your desired temperature.
What I love about this drink is that it’s relatively easy to prepare, tastes great, and gives your body powerful immune-boosting compounds. You can even make larger batches and store it in the fridge for a few days. The cayenne is a wonderful addition as it’s not only loaded with antioxidants that boost your immune system, but has been shown support cardiovascular health by promoting healthy cholesterol levels and reducing platelet aggregation. The turmeric also helps to reduce inflammation which can get out of control during an acute sickness.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 95, Fat .3 g, Carbs 25 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 1 g
Garlic-Ginger Immune Booster
This remedy is recommended for those people who love the taste of garlic! It works great when you begin to develop a scratchy throat, mild chills, and sinus congestion. The ginger and garlic help warm your core body temperature, and all of the ingredients boost your immune system to help you ward off the common cold. If you’re adventurous and love everything that garlic has to offer, when you have finished drinking the liquidyou can add more honey and stir the cut garlic and ginger together and eat the leftover pieces with a spoon. With the addition of honey, the garlic actually goes down easily.
- 1 garlic clove
- 1, 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
- ½ organic lemon
- 1-2 tsp of honey (raw, unpasteurized if possible)
Finely chop the garlic clove and the piece of ginger and put into a mug. Squeeze in the lemon half and pour in 1 cup boiling water. Stir in 1-2 tsp of honey to desired sweetness. Cover and let sit until it is cool enough to drink (roughly 10 minutes).
Makes 1 serving.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 30, Fat 0 g, Carbs 25 g, Fiber 9 g, Protein .3 g
Lemon, Ginger, Honey Immune-Boosting Remedy
This is a great immune-boosting remedy to make during the fall and winter. It takes just five minutes to prepare, and you can store it in your fridge for up to three weeks. When I feel a scratchy throat coming on, I add about two tablespoons of this remedy to my nighttime tea. Not only is it delicious, it helps to boost your immune system by supplying vitamin C, antioxidants, and antibacterial compounds.
- 2 organic lemons
- 2, 3-inch pieces of fresh ginger
- Honey (raw, unpasteurized if available)
Thinly slice lemons and ginger, and mix together. Add to a 12 oz. mason jar, and use a spoon to compress the contents toward bottom of jar. Add honey until the level reaches the top of jar, and shake vigorously to mix the lemon juice and honey together. Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. To serve, add 2 tablespoons to your favorite tea blend, or simply add it to hot water. After a couple of uses, I recommend topping off the mixture by adding additional freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey to help prevent spoilage.
Makes about 8 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Varies based on the size of the jar you use.
Now it’s your turn: How do you boost your immune system?
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