Surprising Foods That Can Prevent the Cold and the Flu from Surprising Foods That Can Prevent the Cold and the Flu
Surprising Foods That Can Prevent the Cold and the Flu
Most people know to drink a lot of tea with honey and lemon and eat chicken soup when they catch a cold. But did you know that fatty fish and certain nuts are just as good, if not better, at preventing you from getting sick in the first place?
These delicious nuts have a very high content of protein and selenium, which is a mineral that is very important for proper immune function. In a study mice infected with the flu virus showed higher levels of inflammation if they didn’t have enough selenium in their body. Separate research has found that selenium increases the cell production of cytokines. They help clear flu viruses from the body. You only need a few of these nuts a week to have enough selenium in your system.
“Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A which helps protect skin and immunity by preventing the entrance of bacteria and virus,” Kimberly Gomer MS, RD, LDN, the Director of Nutrition at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa, says. It also protects mucosal surfaces. The skin is usually your first line of defense against illnesses. The beta-carotene helps neutralize harmful toxins.
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines help fight inflammation, which weakens the immune system, because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, Gomer says. Salmon is also a great source of vitamin D, which is crucial to fighting the cold and flu. Studies have shown that people with vitamin D have fewer acute viral respiratory tract infections and the risk of illness caused thereby, at least during the fall and winter in temperate zones, is significantly reduced.
Lean meats such as beef is are some of the best sources of zinc. Zinc is one of the best immune boosters. It interferes with viruses gaining full access to body cells. The vital mineral can reduce the length of a cold by one day, especially when taken within 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms of a cold (which can feel like an eternity), according to studies. Research has also shown that taking zinc regularly might reduce the number of colds each year.
Oysters contain a lot of the mineral zinc. Just one oyster will give you about 13 milligrams of zinc. It has been proven to boost the immune system and ultimately prevent the cold and flu. Taking zinc lozenges during the first few days of a cold may shorten the misery of an upper respiratory infection, according to research.
Scientific studies have looked at the anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric and its immune-enhancing properties due to the curcumin. Researchers have connected the curcumin in turmeric to a plethora of health related benefits. The superfood spice is very high in antioxidants, which help the body detoxify. Add turmeric to dips or smoothies.
Ginger has been used in traditional medicine. During the past 25 years, many laboratories have provided scientific support for the long-held belief that ginger contains constituents with anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has been hyped as a digestive and immune-enhancer, according to research. It helps to open up the lymphatic channels and prevent the accumulation of the toxins that create infections.
“Garlic has allicin in it – an anti-microbial material that does help fight colds/flu/infections,” Gomer says. Fresh garlic must be crushed or chopped in order to stimulate the release of an enzyme called alliinase, which in turn catalyzes the formation of allicin, which contains the disease fighting characteristics, according to research.
Mushrooms have strong effects on the immune system. They can help boost it when it’s compromised in its ability to fight off infections because they are rich in a type of polysaccharide called beta glucan. Some early evidence indicates that the Shiitake mushroom boosts immunity, according to research. Of the thousands of mushroom species globally, about 20 are used for culinary purposes.
Blueberries have tons of superpowers, especially if they have grown in the wild. They are high in bioflavonoids which are super-antioxidants that give a powerful boost to the immune system. They help protect against oxidative and free radical damage. A study found that wild blueberries have the most active antioxidants of any fresh fruit.
“Generally, when a person is fighting a virus, they are relying on their immune system to do the work,”
Gomer says. Eating a lot of greens is one way to keep a healthy immune, she adds. In a British study mice that ate green vegetables had more infection-fighting white blood cells. In general, the darker the leafy greens are, the more nutrients they have. All greens are a great source of the cold-fighting vitamin C.
Studies have found that it’s a great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and decongestant. There are various herbal remedies that can be created to prevent and cure the cold and flu. HomeRemediesWeb says that you can rid your nasal congestion by boiling 1 liter of water in a pot, adding 4 to 5 teaspoons of fennel seeds, and simply leaning over the pot and inhaling the vapors by covering your head with a towel. You can also gargle warm fennel tea for a sore throat.
“If that makes you feel better – then go for it. Not much research behind it, but it won’t hurt,” Gomer says. Some doctors actually recommend eating dairy products, including ice cream, because they are comforting on sore throats. Ice pops will also help keep you hydrated (although you should drink plenty of water anyway), which can ease congestion.
Lean proteins are an important component of a healthy diet. They give you energy, which you need if you are to take care of an infection or illness. Chicken and turkey breast are good sources. The protein helps the organism build antibodies to fight infection.
“When you are sick, you need to listen to your body. A hot veggie soup or broth would be best but certainly a vegetable juice would be fine,” Gomer says. Sometimes a juice is an easier option. Make sure it’s low in sodium. You’ll get lots of antioxidants to strengthen your immune system.
Cayenne pepper contains the chemical capsicum; it can be used as a stimulant to help build up resistance during the beginning stages of a cold. Sprinkle a small amount of cayenne pepper on your food to help you feel warmer and relieve congestion.