Prior to the flu season, I start making preparations to build up my immune system. I’m one of those people, who rarely get sick, and have never had a flu shot. Call me lucky, but I’d like to believe that my vegetarian diet has much to do with this stroke of luck. I do recall only once, in the past 20+years, having to call out sick.
Throughout the year, my diet is consistent: fruits, vegetables, fish, turkey, chicken, whole grains, and herbal teas. But, the closer it gets to flu season, I add more fruits that are high in vitamin C, and also supplement my intake with a daily vitamin C pill.
When flu season strikes, I can usually tell when a virus is trying to attack; watery eyes, or my throat gets scratchy. At this point, I know it is time to take action, or else.
Medical and scientific research support the evidence that certain foods help to build the body’s immune system, which helps to fight against disease and viruses.
So, to flu-proof your body, by building your immune system, include several of these flu-fighting foods in your diet:
- Citrus Fruits (high in vitamin C, an antioxidant) – oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, tangerines, clementines.
- Onions, garlic, and leeks – good dietary sources of Quercetin, a plant-derived flavonoid, or compound, known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Ginger – contains chemicals which target the rhinovirus, the most common cold virus. Can help to soothe a scratchy throat and suppress cough.
- Selenium-rich foods – selenium is a mineral that helps to boost your immunity. Good dietary sources: brazil nuts, lobster, oysters, clams, and tuna.
- Mushrooms – known for their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-enhancing properties.
- Yogurt – contains a bacterium called Lactobacillus reuteri, found to stop the growth of pathogens in the body.
Sources: WebMd, University of Maryland Medical Center, Wikipedia, and Rodale.com