Flu season is upon us, and that means you should be doing everything you can to ward away germs and keep your immune system strong. While hand-washing is crucial to preventing sickness, the food you eat also has a huge influence on the health of your immune system.
Poor nutrition can cause
an increased chance of infections, a weakened immune system and more. But all of that can be avoided by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and consuming the right foods to support your immune system.
While it's always important to get the right balance of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbs and water, eating the following foods can give you that extra boost your body needs to make it through flu season.
- Garlic contains the bacteria-fighting nutrient allicin. Some research has found that garlic may help ward off the common cold. Try to eat about two cloves of garlic a day. You can do this by adding generous amounts of minced garlic to the dishes you cook. As a bonus, you'll boost the flavor of your meals without adding extra calories.
- Oats and barley contain beta glucan, a fiber with potent antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities. It can boost immunity, speed wound healing and may improve antibiotic effectiveness. Get at least one serving of oats or barley a day.
- Yogurt contains probiotics that help the healthy bacteria in your gut to flourish. Try to get in two six-ounce servings of yogurt a day to see the benefit to your immune system.
- Shellfish is full of selenium, a mineral which acts as an antioxidant in the body and can help keep your immune system working well. You can also increase your intake of regular fish like salmon, mackerel and herring to benefit from their high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which cut inflammation, increase airflow and protect your lungs from colds and respiratory infections.
Check out our Nutrition program
to learn more about healthy approaches to living and eating.