Flu season is coming and this year’s vaccine may or may not be a good match. So let’s fuel our body for the fight. After all, vaccines only show our body what the flu virus will look like. It’s up to our body to actually fight and kill the virus. There’s a lot more you can do at home than just wash your hands. You can eat with a purpose to prime your body to build the arsenal it needs to keep you healthy this flu season.
1) Oysters, beef, pork chop, black eyed peas, pumpkin seeds- all of these foods are high in the mineral Zinc which helps to keep viruses from attaching to cells and helps prevent them from replicating. Zinc levels in your body may take time to build up, so start eating or supplementing early. Zinc gluconate lozenges have been shown to have the most antiviral power when taken at the onset of a cold. Too much zinc can be toxic, so consult a dietician for dosage.
2) Sweet potatoes, winter squash, dark green veggies, and carrots- these foods have a ton of vitamin A which in combination with Zinc can be a flu killer. Vitamin A is an integral part of “Natural Killer” cells and other immune chemicals which are part of the response to fighting an infection.
3) Green and White tea contain catechins which have anti-viral properties as well as antioxidants which protect your cells from damage. Can help reduce the replication of viruses as well. So trade in your morning coffee this fall and winter for some tea.
4) Yogurt (plain non-fat yogurt)- this contains friendly bacteria which boost the immune system. 70% of the immune system is in your intestines, so be kind to it and it will be kind to you.
5) Apples, onions, broccoli, and tomatoes- these are all high in a product called quercetin which when given to cyclists had shown to reduce the susceptibility to getting the flu in an Appalachian State Univ. study. It is in a group of chemicals called flavonoids that have numerous other health effects.
6) Cabbage- contains glutamine, an immune boosting amino acid/antioxidant (also in watermelon)
7) Chili/Red/Red peppers, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Strawberries, and Citrus Fruits- all have large amounts of Vitamin C which is also an immune boosting vitamin. Studies have shown this vitamin enhances “Natural Killer” cell activity, white blood cell growth, and flooding of immune cells to viral infected area.
8) Mushrooms- these help to increase your body’s resistance to viral infections by boosting “Natural Killer Cells” and are also high in selenium and vitamin D which help fuel your immune system.
9) Almonds- these as well as other nuts/seeds are a good source of protein and Vitamin E which can help ward off viral infections.
10) Chicken Soup- contains a product called carnosine which can help fight off the Flu virus in its early stages as well as act as a mild anti-inflammatory
11) Wild Caught Salmon- being high in protein, vitamin D, and good fats makes this food a warrior against the Flu. Farm raised has less nutrients but is still a good source.
A well-nourished immune system can help reduce your risk of the flu. All of the nutrients in the foods mentioned help your body build a virus killing tank that is ready for the hunt. So make a shopping list, grab some food, stock the pantry, and get eating! Soon you may be one of the lucky ones that gets to say, “I didn’t get sick this year”.