Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Foods That Boost Your Immune System

Cold & flu season calls for immune-system boosting foods.
Cold & flu season calls for immune-system boosting foods.
Image: Shutterstock

As I sit at work, I’m reminded of the fact that it is cold and flu season and my immune system needs all the help it can get. I can literally feel my body fighting off sickness when I’m around others who are sick—I get run down, tired, and exhibit a few symptoms of the sickness. Sometimes I do get sick, but when I’m lucky, my immune system wins the battle and that run-down feeling passes in just a few days.

Most of us hate being sick, and if you’re like me, you don’t mind adding a few extra steps into your daily routine to ensure that the bad bugs stay out and your immune system stays strong. So, what can you do to help your body out? For starters, you can feed yourself foods that help your immune system fight off viruses and bacteria.

The following foods can help prevent sickness, and I’m more than willing to make sure they stay in my diet for the next few months:
Chamomile tea can help boost your immune system.
Chamomile tea can help boost your immune system.
Image: Shutterstock
  1. Chamomile Tea
  2. Oats (especially steel-cut)
  3. Salad Dressings (the ones with healthy fats from nut and olive oils, NOT the fat-free kind)
  4. Whey Protein (found in protein powders and yogurt)
  5. Tomatoes
  6. Butterbur plant extract supplements
  7. Sports Drinks (think Gatorade and Powerade)
  8. Wine (especially reds)—in moderation
  9. Hot Sauce (or peppers containing capsaicin)
The above foods boost your immune system in a variety of ways, from helping it produce its own antibodies to warding off food poisoning to providing you with valuable antioxidants. What could be easier than adding some of these in to your daily routine? It seems a small price to pay for avoiding sickness.

Foods with capsaicin, like peppers, help your body fight off sickness.
Foods with capsaicin, like peppers, help your body
fight off sickness.
Image: Shutterstock
Another recommendation from Women’s Health to help ward off sickness is to cut your daily calorie intake by 200-300 calories if you are overweight. Though it may sound like a lot, it’s really not hard to do—substitute a serving of pasta for steamed veggies or cut the sour cream and cheese out of your chili and you’re done. This can help you lose weight and keep all your vital systems (including your immune system) in better shape.

Do you already eat any of these foods? Which is your favorite? I love a glass of red wine with dinner and we also eat a LOT of spicy food. Comment below!

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