When cold and flu season arrives, you can’t help but worry about catching these nasty viruses just when you can least afford to be sick! There are simple precautions you can take, though, to help reduce your chances of becoming ill. Good hand hygiene – that is, washing your hands regularly or using an antimicrobial gel – is the single best way to avoid getting sick, as is staying away from those who you know have an infection and also not being out in public places whenever it is unnecessary. It is also important to keep your immune system strong by rest, good stress management, and including foods in your diet that will help to strengthen your body’s ability to fight off infection and illness. Five such foods are discussed below.
This deep golden spice from India has become popular in the West since people have discovered its many health benefits. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, but also a powerful antioxidant which can reduce your chances of getting the cold and flu (and even more serious conditions like cancer or Alzheimer’s disease) by strengthening your immunity and reducing oxidative damage to the body’s tissues.
As part of the illustrious cruciferous family of vegetables, cabbage (like cauliflower and broccoli) is a superfood loaded with nutritional benefits. It is high in many vitamins and minerals that your body – including your immune system – needs to stay strong and its high sulfur and antioxidant content will make it much less likely that you will fall prey to the cold or flu. Its high dietary fiber content also improves your digestion, which is closely linked to a strong immune system as well.
In or out of season, this fruit is a nutritional powerhouse as well as being a delicious addition to a fruit plate or dessert. It is high in Vitamin C, which helps your immune system fight off infection more readily, and gives you anti-inflammatory benefits as well. Watermelon, too, is rich in the antioxidants your body needs to stay in general good health and make it less susceptible to microbial attacks.
Shiitake mushrooms are excellent for supporting the health of the kidneys, which makes your immune system stronger since the kidneys are one way in which the body detoxifies and purifies itself, getting rid of harmful substances that can make you ill. It is also a great meat substitute since it has a fleshy texture that makes it popular in many vegetarian dishes.
These seeds are rich in fiber to help improve digestion and also in protein, which your body also needs to stay healthy. Most importantly, however, they are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, whose powerful antioxidant properties strengthen your immunity and reduce free radical damage throughout the body, greatly improving overall health. They are easy to add to oatmeal, cereals and similar dishes to increase their nutritional value.
So remember to add these foods to your menu during the cold and flu season. They are easy on the budget and will greatly reduce the chances of coming down with a viral infection due to their immune-boosting properties.
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