At this time of the year during the cold months, anyone can be vulnerable to cold and flu. However, if you want to elude from it, there’s no better way than having a healthful diet with immune system boosting foods. These foods are gut health friend, and it’s important to eat these foods in order to maintain a healthy gut bacteria as it in the gut where immune system starts.
Include the following foods in your daily meals for better health and strong immune system. In fact, not only at this time of the year, but eat them all year round to stay protected with a strong immune system.
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and green veggies are amazing. Fruits can be surely be consume as whole fruits, while there are vegetables that need to be cook and others are excellent for salads. Unfortunately, a major portion of the population not only in America but around the world don’t get enough amount of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet. This cold season could your best time to start thinking on adding more fruits and vegetables in to your meals making it a nutrient-packed meal that makes your immune system alive, happy, and strong.
They’re not difficult to prepare. Of course, most people are accustomed to ready-to-eat fast foods, but unfortunately, these foods are unhealthy, damage your gut microbiota and eventually wane your immune system making you vulnerable to common sickness. So, with breakfast, add fruits and green veggies to your protein shake or smoothie. You might be thinking this is odd, but the reality is…it’s healthy, and even the taste of the greens is not noticeable, but the nutrients are there.
Another breakfast tip is to add peppers, sauteed onions, spinach, and mushrooms to your breakfast, which is a great side dish to eggs, or cook them all with the eggs. Adding some berries to your oatmeal is also a good idea, if you like eat oatmeal in your breakfast. For lunch, instead of buying fast foods, make your own sandwich in which you can add tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and avocado as replacement to mayonnaise making you lunch nutrient-rich. And, during dinner, make sure you cover a good portion of your plate with vegetables particularly greens.
Garlic contains an active ingredient called allicin, which is its active ingredients helpful for fighting bacteria and infection. In fact, numerous studies have found those who regularly eat garlic are less prone to getting colds. Don’t be fooled by the strong flavor and aroma of garlic. This is what some people don’t want to eat garlic, but if you incorporate regularly incorporate garlic in your regular dishes, it’s delicious and healthful. Add garlic to your soups, and salad dressings. In fact, if you finely minced garlic, you can add it to any dish. Even better, if you can get a garlic powder, the possibilities are endless because you can even add it to your smoothies. Weird? Well, not at all.
Just like garlic, onions also contains allicin and another active component called guercetin, which help breaks up mucus in the chest and head while at the same time making your immune system strong. Onions especially red onions are strong for most people, but if you allow yourself to practice eating raw onions, it’s a healthy idea. If the flavor is too strong for you, put a little vinegar preferably apple cider vinegar with little salt and pepper, and if you can add a little olive oil into it. This combination lowers the strong flavor making the onions taste a bit sweeter, but packed with nutrients.
4. Chicken Soup
When you cook chicken just as in chicken soup, it releases an amino acid known as cysteine, which is chemically similar to acetylcysteine, a drug for bronchitis. One study(1) shown that chicken soup can mitigate inflammation. The findings of the study was included in The Great Food Almanac, and also cited on many articles. Another great thing about chicken soup, you can add additional healthy ingredients into it that are cold-fighting like ginger, garlic, onions, and even mushrooms plus the various herbs like cilantro, etc. Watch the video below to the end as chicken soup recipe is revealed, the one used in the study.
The present study, therefore, suggests that chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity. A mild anti-inflammatory effect could be one mechanism by which the soup could result in the mitigation of symptomatic upper respiratory tract infections.
Probiotics are considered the gold standard as foods for the gut microbiota. The best source of probiotics are fermented foods like kimchi, unpasteurized pickles, and sauerkraut; and fermented drinks like miso, kefir, and kombucha. Probiotics are also available in supplement form, but it is highly recommended to take the natural way because it’s more effective. However, for some reasons, supplements can be helpful, but always aim to take the real foods and don’t rely on supplement-based probiotics for long-term.
Mushrooms are fungi, yet when you eat them, your body’s white blood cell production and activity increases, which is a good thing when it comes to protection against infection. Some popular mushrooms include maitake, reishi, and shiitake mushrooms. They’re also considered the best choices. You can add them on soups like chicken soup, roasted and sauteed vegetables. If you’re a fan of making chiken broth, add mushrooms into it. It’s not just delicious, it’s also packed with nutrients.
Shellfish are rich and abundant source of selenium allowing our body to produce cytokines, which is helpful for getting rid of the flu virus. Among the shellfish you can enjoy includes crabs, clams, lobsters, and oysters. Selenium is also available in supplement form, which you can take, but again, it’s always recommended to eat the real foods and take only supplementation as part of your whole foods diet. For those who are looking for boosting their sex drive during cold season, shellfish is known to be an aphrodisiac as it contains zinc, as well. Some dietary male enhancements include zinc as part of their main ingredients.
There are many of these dietary pills that contain zinc. Check Amazon’s list of supplements that contained zinc. It may be for general health, or sexual enhancement purposes. For men, it could be a good addition to a penile hydrotherapy routine.
Beef meat is rich in zinc, which is vital for the production of white blood cells in the body. While it’s easy to get beef, it is vital to take note on getting only grass-fed beef. The reason for this is that, the majority of the farm raised beef has been feed with GMO corn and antibiotics, which is not a good thing for human health. On the other hand, if you’re not a meat-eater, don’t worry as there are many other foods rich in zinc including the previously mentioned shellfish, plus yogurt, and pork. Again, with pork, you wanna make sure it’s not loaded with antibiotics and feed with GMO-based feeds.
For plant-based, here are among the rich sources of zinc; spinach, lima, sesame and kidney beans, flax, watermelon and pumpkin seeds, garlic(mentioned earlier), peanuts, egg yolks preferably from organic and cage-free chickens, chickpeas, brown rice, mushrooms(previously mentioned), plus many others.
What’s More To Know?
Eating these foods mentioned here on a regular basis can certainly help make your immune system strong. However, it is also essential to note, there are certain foods to avoid as they can suppressed the immune system including foods that contain high amount of added sugars, refined carbs from white flour that includes products like crackers, pasta, bread, and many other highly processed foods.
Also, mentioned is GMO or genetically modified organisms, or simply genetically modified produced because these products have not been proven totally safe for long-term consumption. Unfortunately, majority if the food products you can buy in supermarkets contain some GMO products from their ingredients. You may not be able to completely eliminate it for now, but do your best to minimize exposure by opting to eat real or whole foods. Also, since during winter the sun barely show, it’s always a good idea to include supplementation like Vitamin D3 along with these foods.