10 Foods to fight the flu this Winter
Welcome to Winter! It is officially here, and it is freezing!
This time of year is hard on many bodies, particularly those who are very young, elderly, and who are immune-compromised.
Boosting your immune system through some easy dietary changes will have you ready to fight whatever bugs might come your way! Thankfully, there are at least 10 winter immune boosting foods to keep your health up during flu season. Of course, there are many other foods that reduce inflammation and boost your health, but these are 10 of our personal favourites, and the ones that are sure to produce some seriously amazing comfort foods, too!
Eating these 10 winter immune boosting foods is an easy, delicious way to stay healthy this season!
- Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Vitamin A naturally gives our immune systems a boost, while beta-carotene acts as a precursor to Vitamin A. Beta-carotene is an incredibly powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A also tells our gut’s immune system to kick things up a notch, so sweet potatoes really pack double the punch!
Our bodies do not naturally produce Vitamin D. Most of us obtain Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight or through Vitamin D3 supplements found at the pharmacy. Mushrooms are one of the only foods that contain Vitamin D, which is critical to your immune system.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
This group of healthy fats is immune boosting at its finest. These fatty acids are found in fatty fish like salmon, trout, and tuna; they’re also found in flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega 3 fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatory foods. They help reduce inflammation, thereby boosting your immune system.
Chickpeas are a great plant-based source of zinc. While most of us might take zinc as a supplement during cold and flu season, it’s easy to get through your diet, too! Zinc deficiencies have been linked with a lowered immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses, especially in the winter. You’ll also find zinc in red meat and chicken. Add some garlic (which assists in the body’s ability to absorb zinc) and you’ve got a power duo!
- Leafy Greens
High in Vitamin C, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens will have your immune system singing. Rather than reaching for a Vitamin C supplement, bulk up your diet with dark leafy greens.
A healthy gut = a healthy immune system. Your gut and your immune system work hand-in-hand. When the gut is out of balance, your immune system can suffer. Keeping your GI tract populated with healthy, good bacteria may help ward off viruses and bad bacteria that make you sick. Yogurt isn’t the only source of healthy probiotics. Find them in other fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
If you’re in search of a warming and healthy winter beverage, ginger tea may be just what you’re looking for. Adding ginger to tea and meals is a great way to boost your health. Ginger can help your body fight viruses that may try to attach to the respiratory tract cells.
Garlic has both antibacterial and antiviral properties. It’s one of the best allies for your immune system! Garlic stimulates white blood cell production, meaning your body is more easily able to fend off foreign invaders. Garlic also helps your body better-absorb zinc!
Hang around here long enough and you’ll learn my love of turmeric. This spice is present in most Indian cuisine, and with good reason. Turmeric has a deep, earthy flavor and powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
- Green Tea
Green tea is packed with flavinoids, a type of antioxidant. Green tea contains EGCG, which boosts immune function. Green tea is steamed, so its concentrations of EGCG remain high. Green tea is also a great source of L-theanine, and amino acid which helps build up your immune system’s T-cells. Sip on green tea all winter long!
One extra super food to take home; Oranges
Make sure you add oranges to your shopping list this winter – along with being rich in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant, they’re also a good source of fibre. So, enjoy them as a snack, include them in a warm winter salad for some zesty flavour or add them to your morning smoothie.