Thursday, January 9, 2014

Amp Up Your Diet with These 15 Fruits and Veggies to Avoid the Flu This Season

Parsnips are rich in Vitamin C and one of my favorite winter soup ingredients!
Parsnips are rich in Vitamin C and one of my favorite winter soup ingredients!
Image: Shutterstock
I work in a small office, yet we’ve consistently had at least one person at a time semi-sick for the past few weeks. When I went home for the holidays, a few of my friends and family members were fighting off sickness, and when I got home, I could feel that winter chill trying to sink into my bones. It’s flu season, and I really don’t want to get it. Do you?

Luckily, I’ve thus far been able to stave off the coughs and chills, fevers and tummy aches. I used to always be the first to get sick, but these days it seems like my immune system is a lot stronger. My hypothesis is that my increased level of exercise and healthy eating over last year is at least partially responsible.

While stocking up on Vitamin C supplements can help if you feel a potential flu coming on, my opinion is that it’s best to approach the situation proactively. Give your body the nutrients it needs to be able to fight sickness as soon as it comes on, not just when you finally feel it. These fruits and veggies will give your immune system a much-needed boost and help you avoid the flu this season:
  1. Bananas – Vitamin B6
  2. Bell Peppers – Vitamin C
  3. Broccoli – Iron
  4. Cantaloupe – Vitamin A
  5. Carrots – Vitamin A
  6. Citrus – Vitamin C
  7. Green leafy vegetables – Vitamin C, folic acid
  8. Kale – Iron
  9. Mushrooms (certain varieties) – Vitamin D
  10. Papaya – Vitamin C
  11. Parsnip – Vitamin C
  12. Pumpkin – Vitamin A
  13. Spinach – Vitamin E 
  14. Squash – Vitamin A
  15. Sweet Potatoes – Vitamin A
Can’t find these veggies fresh? Don’t forget that most produce also comes in frozen varieties, which are usually preserved at peak ripeness. Just make sure that there is no added salt, sugar, or other ingredients. Frozen veggies are great for soups, stews, and stir-fry—all lovely, warm winter meals!

As much as I love eggnog, cookies, hot chocolate, and all those delicious comfort foods, they don’t really help my body out when sickness abounds. So, for now, I’m going to be re-adjusting from my holiday food binge and getting back to basics.
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