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Improve Your Immune System With These Super Foods During The Cold and Flu Season
As I write this, I have a box of tissues to my left, and on my right, a paper basket packed with used tissues. Ewww. My immune system is down the drain, my nose clogged and my head hurts. There are so many things you can do to boost your immune system and strengthen yourself to prevent getting ill.
Had I only taken the advice and tips I am about to give you today, I may not have found myself so weak. If mom is sick, she can’t take care of her little ones, right? The last thing you need is a cold creeping up on you and disrupting your week.
You know that feeling when you are getting sick? That tingle at the back of your throat, tossing and turning, the feeling of exhaustion…..you know you are coming down with a cold. It sucks.
At the moment, it is about -14 degrees Celcius here in Austria. Freezing! By the time I realized I was getting sic, it was too late to keep it away.
Did you know that about 80% of our immune system is located in our digestive system?
I personally don’t believe in filling my body with all kinds of medication unless it is an absolute must. There are lots of things you have in your home right at this moment that will help you build the healthy cells you need to feel better.
Sleep and exercise can do a lot for your health, eating the right food is just as important, if not more.
I can’t control everything in my life, but I can control what I put in my body.
What Can You Do To Boost Your Immune System?
Your immune system is exactly that. A system, not a single entity. In order for it to work well, it requires a good balance.
The purpose of your body’s immune system is to defend against attack and help start repair.
The better it does it, the healthier we are.
You don’t want to spend more time each year nursing a sore throat, fever, and runny nose than you do on vacation. Getting sick multiple times per year is not necessary and is unavoidable.
Even if you do come into contact with bacteria and viruses, to be completely knocked out by them is not something that has to happen. There are plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that have immunity-boosting properties that will do wonders for your body.
'don't focus on how much you eat, focus on what you eat.'Click To Tweet
Here Are 7 Fruits & Vegetables That Will Boost Your Immune System
Foods that are rich in colour are also high in immunity-boosting antioxidants. Be on the lookout for yellow, red, blue, orange, and purple, fruits and vegetables. Immune system booster foods can change the way your body handles germs.
1. Berries, All Kinds Of Berries!
Although we love to eat strawberries in late Spring or in the Summer, strawberries are a great source of Vitamin C during the cold and flu season. Strawberries, not only oranges, are known to help your body fight infection.
2. Carrots Are Great For Helping You Ward Off Seasonal Colds and Flu
Carrots are full of beta-carotene. Vitamin A found in carrots acts as an immune enhancer.
Stick to eating raw carrots. Other sources of Vitamin A include broccoli, squash, kale, cantaloupe, apricots, and fish. So if you are lacking, try introducing some of these into your daily diet.
I love setting the table, even if it is just for breakfast. These are some of my favourite fruit bowls.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes also have a great amount of Vitamin A and beta-carotene just like carrots do. This is an essential nutrient for helping you fight against a cold.
Did you know that your skin is one of the most important parts of your immune system?
It is the first barrier to prevent disease. If germs can’t get through, no flu for you.“Health is a relationship between you and your body” ~Terri GuillemetsClick To Tweet
4. Garlic – Doesn’t Smell Great, But Works Wonders
Even though I don’t like it, I must admit garlic works. Garlic contains more than 100 biologically-useful chemicals which do everything from lower cholesterol to fight off viruses. It has been used for centuries for its antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Garlic works so well to boost your immune system by increasing the rate at which your natural killer cells are made with allicin. Eating a clove or two of garlic on an empty stomach every day will help boost your immune system if you and those around you can handle it.
As much as I can’t stand the stench, garlic can regulate blood sugar levels, and get you back to being healthy.
5. Mushrooms Have Powerful Immune-Boosting Effects
It is no surprise that some mushrooms have great potential for battling cancer. Mushrooms increase the production and activity of white blood cells. They become more aggressive when fighting bacteria.It’s important to eat ONLY organically grown mushrooms.
Shiitake is a popular culinary mushroom used in dishes around the world and contains a number of health-stimulating agents.
6. Chinese Gooseberry a.k.a Kiwi
Kiwis are high in vitamin C, and vitamin E. Eating a couple of kiwi fruits thrice a week, can go a long way in improving your immune system. kiwis are great to add to fruit bowls, salads and smoothies.
Having two kiwi fruits one hour before bedtime can help immensely in inducing sleep.
You can take a few slices of kiwi and apply them on your skin, the vitamins act as an antioxidant.
Kiwi rejuvenates our skin, helps keep skin firm, fights acne, and prevents sun damage.
Is there anything this fruit can’t do? It is recognized as the national fruit of China, not New Zealand.
'In my food world, there is no fear or guilt, only joy and balance.' - Ellie KriegerClick To Tweet
7. Spinach Has Many Important Roles To Play In Maintaining A Healthy Body
Spinach is loaded with vitamin, A, C, E and K. It is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol.
They also increase our body’s ability to heal wounds and provide a boost to our entire metabolism.
Spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. It also helps enhance your body’s ability to rejuvenate itself.
8. Yoghurt And Healthy Bacteria
Probiotics, found in yoghurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut germs that cause disease. Friendly bacteria have a powerful, beneficial effect on your body. Yoghurt is delicious and helps make you feel fuller. Instead of reaching for chips or chocolate, trade those in for healthy yoghurt that your body will thank you for.
What Foods Should You Cut Back On?
The best types of foods to cut back on ( even though it is so hard) are refined carbs like white flour, white rice, sugar, and saturated fats found in butter and other animal fats, such as chicken skin.
Processed meats, fried food, soda, and baked treats are no good either. I cannot cut ALL these out of my diet. I am just too weak. If you cannot cut them out either, have them in moderation.
Eating too much of these will suppress your immune system.
In order to boost your immune system and maintain a healthy body, be mindful of what you eat.'A healthy outside starts from the inside.' -Robert UrichClick To Tweet
Inspire Yourself To Cook and Eat Consciously
Cook with onions, garlic, ginger, black peppercorn, cayenne pepper, allspice, curry, and turmeric. They all contain components that will help to boost your immune system. When you cook consciously, you will develop a better relationship with food, and how you feel about yourself after eating it. You will be able to enjoy the process while savouring all the many different tastes, textures, and flavours of food.
Who says you can’t look cute when making a deliscious meal?
I love these 4-piece sets that all go for $25 or under. My favourite goes for only $12!
One thing I truly suck at is remembering to drink enough water every day.
I will drink coffee, tea, soda, and juice, but never drink the recommended daily intake of water.
Working on doing better this week, month, year, I have to constantly remind myself and be reminded.
Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your health. To make tap water not taste so boring, add a squeeze of lemon, or lime (or both). Lemon helps rehydrate the system and promotes digestion. Drinking water will help boost your immune system ensures that your eyes and mouth will remain as moist as they need to be.
'You don't have to eat less, you just have to eat right.'Click To Tweet
Fill a large jug with water, sliced fruit (try citrus, berries or melon) and ice; refrigerate overnight. I love to tear up some fresh mint leaves and leave to steep in water before drinking. In summer, it’s just heavenly!
A colleague of mine who noticed I hardly drank any water said to me, “Sheri, you use water to wash your hands, mop the floor, and do the dishes, to get all these things clean, so why wouldn’t you use water to cleanse and remove toxins from your body?” Here question was so straightforward, logical and on-point. I had no answer, she was right.
Thanks, Susan! 🙂
Hot water (not boiling) with lemon, ginger, and organic honey will help with your cold and flu.
Here’s How To Flu-Proof Your Home
I have spent the past few days constantly washing my hands, using Purell like crazy, sneezing into my elbow, and avoiding kissing my toddler too much. Right before Christmas, I had tonsillitis, three weeks ago the hubby had bronchitis. Here’s what we have been doing to ensure our little one does not catch any of our icky germs.
Maintain Good Coughing and Sneezing Habits
Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and put the tissue in the trash right away.
Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow NOT your hand.
Fewer germs on your hands mean you are less likely to spread germs from touching.
Wash Your Hands Often
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to keep from catching a cold.
Wash your hand with soap, antibacterial if possible. Scrub a little more than you usually would, and do not touch your face with dirty hands.
Keep Surfaces Clean
Your family members can easily catch a cold by touching contaminated objects and then putting their fingers near their mouth and eyes. My little one is almost three, so his hands are on his face and in his mouth all the time! He is always reaching for my laptop, iPad and cell phone. At this time I need to be particularly cautious.
Colds and flu are spread mostly by direct contact. Despite your best efforts to prevent catching a cold, you might still get hit with a bug. You have the power to stop the illness from spreading once you’ve caught it.
Did you know that when a sick person coughs or sneezes, their virus droplets can travel 6 feet or more???
That’s an insane distance for yucky germs, but they love to travel and they travel fast!
Keep your germs to yourself and stop them from spreading!
Improve Circulation in Your Home by Opening Windows
Indoor air can be up to five times as polluted as outdoor air, so even when it’s cold outside, air out your home for 10 minutes daily. Houseplants help clean air too. Plants help to increase oxygen levels, and our bodies appreciate that.
The Top 10 plants for removing indoor pollutants are:
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii)
- Golden Pothos (Scindapsus aures)
- English Ivy (Hedera helix)
- Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
- Gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
- Mother-In-Law’s Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
- Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
- Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
- Red-Edge Dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
- Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Having a bulletproof immune system won’t happen if you only follow these tips for a few days a week.
You have to be mindful of them all year round. Exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, get enough sleep, and try to minimize stress.
If you can’t see any of these tips helping you out, get a hazmat suit. 🙂
Everyone gets sick around this time of the year, so it is important to remember the foods that will help you get back on your feet. Rounding out your diet with plenty of vegetables and drinking water will keep your immunity running smoothly. A little effort will go a long way!
Finding the right foods to eat and stay healthy can be easy if you adopt the motto, “if it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.”
You don’t need to go vegetarian, vegan, or even go on a Keto diet. You can do things daily to naturally strengthen and boost your immune system.
Never underestimate the power of food and water to help heal your body.
What do you do to combat colds and boost your immunity? Tips, advice and suggestions are welcome, you never know who is feeling a little under the weather…or is about to.
Share them with me in the comments section below!
Nice advice and ideas that everyone can follow and through it.
Thank you for such a comprehensive article. I agree with everything but you should be very couches with spinach and yogurt. Spinach is a plant that is heavily treated with pesticides. The milk and bacteria cultures in the yogurt are of very bad quality, except if you make it yourself with milk from your own cow or somebody that you know.
Such a great list! I didn’t know that mushroom can help boosting the immune system. I love eating yoghurt mix with berries! I sometimes put garlic while cooking too.
That’s funny! I’ve never thought of carrots or mushrooms as immune boosting foods~~great for us, yes~~ but never thought immune! I have them both here, I’ll have to eat some soon!
Very helpful. I’ve always wanted some air-filtering plants in the house but I’m sure I’d kill them 🙁
Hi – No you wouldn’t kill them, there are many plants that need only watering once a week, and are very strong. 🙂
I’m lucky as I eat most of these nearly everyday! I can vouch for it too as I am rarely poorly. Such a great and informative post! x
Thanks so much. What we put in our body says so much about how we feel in terms of health.
I needed to read this I’ve been deathly ill thr past week and the antibiotics are making me worse might try adding a few more of these to my diet 🙂
Yes, I would suggest you try at least two of these. Slowly implement more into your diet and you will feel better. Hope you are feeling better now.
Sweet potatoes and garlic are in my diet nearly everyday! I used to hate sweet potatoes. Then, I went through a sugar detox and tried them again and they were the most delicious things I had eaten! Ha! Glad to know they help boost my immune system!
A sugar detox is amazing. I did it once for a few weeks and felt amazing, but then started eating lots of cookies again. 🙁
I’m going to have to look into nabbing a few of those indoor house-plants. I love the idea of creating healthier environment in my home that also looks beautiful!
I agree Beth, plants can completely change the look and feel of a room.
Given that anything can happen these days, best to take precautions for your immune system to fight off anything that comes its way! Chinese gooseberry though… I’ve never even heard of that so thanks for that 🙂
You are most welcome Sondra!
Wonderful post Sheri! I always try to eat healthy and sleep enough to keep myself healthy. Also, during the winter season I’ve found it essential to have enough clothes on. Anyhow, this post taught me something new – I didn’t know that the plants can actually help you stay healthy. I’m the worst plant lady ever but probably I should the this 🙂
Hi – I am so glad you learned something new from this post! 🙂 Yes, plants are great, and if you want, you can get one that is sturdy but low-maintenance.
I eat a lot of billberries and currants in my smoothies and drink fresh lemon/ginger tea daily. I wasnt aware of sweet potato, going to run to the shop to get some!!!
Lemon and ginger tea is so delish!
I eat all of these, except mushrooms haha, but not to fight against cold or a flu. I’ve got rheumatoid, which is autoimmune disease which means that my immune system is pretty damn crap itself so these are amazing for maintaining it on some level. Loved this post, so informative!
Thanks for sharing a bit of your story Jasmin. 🙂 All the best, Sheri
I try to include those foods in my diet, huge fan of garlic but had no idea about sweet potato!!
Berries and garlic are my number one superfood go to’s! So so good for you!
What a fab post, and I love a bit of garlic in my food!
These are some very good especially for winter time. Yoghurt and berries for breakfast, sweet potato chips for the snack 🙂
I try to eat lots of berries this time of year!! I love garlic too and I know how good it is for us!! Great post!
I love implementing these into my kiddos’ diets!
This is a very useful post with lots of advise and tips. I like all the foods you have recommended apart from mushrooms.
Love this. i’m a big believer in garlic for it’s anti-bacterial properties. It’s amazing for sore tummies too!
Yes it does help with sore tummies, and even though I don;t like the smell, if it will get me healthy, I will have it.
I hope you feel better soon! Berries are one of my favorite snack foods. I love berries on their own as well as in smoothies, mixed with plain yogurt, and over a hot bowl of oatmeal.
Thanks Bonnie! I feel great now, and thanks to some of the products we both love, like berries!
I used to know someone who ate a clove of garlic every morning with half a grapefruit. It didn’t sound like the tastiest breakfast, but he did it for the health benefits. 🙂 So much great advice in this post!
I didn’t realize that mushrooms are an immune booster! We always rely on berries, garlic, and more typical choices when we’re fighting something, but I love mushrooms so I’m keeping those in mind!
So much great info! I never knew that about carrots — I’ll have to fill up on them! I suck at drinking the “right” amount of water, too, but I do sneak in some herbal tea. Great post!
I love a good herbal tea, mint tea, and lemon-ginger. Yum!
I love berries and yogurt! I have that and granola every morning for breakfast and it’s so good. These are great tips for staying healthy!
Carrots a great superfood for your immune system as is foods like kale and cabbage. That being said I know I don’t have the healthiest diet so I do need to do something about that!
Such a helpful post. I try to eat lots of fruit and vegetables as much as I can. Hope you feel better soon!
I wasn’t aware of all the foods that helped with immunity. I’m glad that I like all the food listed. We may not eat the items regularly but do eat them. I have plans for carrot muffins this week. Does that count? You are right though sometimes when we really feel sick it’s too late.
Rose! I made carrot muffins last weekend, they are so delish! I love them, and yes they absolutely do count.
Carrots are the best food! My kids eat them raw and cooked. They are great snacks and so healthy as well.
I love cold crunchy carrots. So yummy!
Great list of super nutrient rich foods. And I too need to work on increasing my water intake.
I am working on that daily. 🙂
I love garlic, I’d put it in everything if I could! Such a good immune booster too, ginger and lemongrass are also other favourites!
Great post. I am eating berries a lot these days because I can’t afford any illness at the moment. Lychee is also loaded with vitamin C and delicious too.
Berries are so good. I like to have a bowl of mixed berries as a snack or sometimes for breakfast with yoghurt.