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7 Foods to Eat to Keep your Immune System Strong

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

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Cold and flu season is around the corner..dun dun dun (deep voice). We all hate it when we have work deadlines and functions and then we get hit with a cold or flu virus and have to stay in bed.  Alternatively, your child or loved one gets sick and you have to stay home and care for them.  Getting sick is never fun, not to mention no one really wants to be around you when you are contagious. The body tends to get sick when we are least expecting it or wanting it. Why? Because stress weakens our immune system.

Besides managing your stress, here are a few things you can eat to keep your immune system prepped. Try adding these foods into your diet to ward off the flu and cold virus.

Garlic:
Known to contain the active ingredient “allicin” which fights bacteria and infection. Try eating 2 raw cloves a day. Keep gum on hand or a toothbrush.

Chicken Soup:
An oldie but a goodie. Cysteine, an amino acid found in chicken has been shown to help the body ward off bacteria and viruses. The hot broth also helps to keep mucous thin, which helps with congestion or phlegm buildup where the bacteria can remain. Adding spices like garlic and onion can help enhance its immune boosting effects.

Yogurt: 
Probiotics or live active cultures found in yogurt contain the beneficial bacteria that help keep the intestinal tract free of bad bacteria. Try to enjoy yogurts that are not artificially sweetened with fruit and flavours.

Beef:
Zinc deficiency has a large impact on the immune system. Zinc is found in high amounts in animal meat (eat organic). Zinc helps build white blood cells, which in turn help keep our immune system strong. Mild zinc deficiency can increase your risk of infection. You can also enjoy zinc rich oysters, fortified cereals and milk.

Oats and Barley:
These grains contain beta-glucan, a fibre which has antibacterial and antioxidant properties shown to help fight against the flu and cold virus. Try having one serving a day during the fall and winter months. Swap the white bread for this.

Mushrooms:
For centuries people have turned to mushrooms for immune protection. Mushrooms impact our white blood cells and enhance their activity against bacteria and viruses. Shitake and reishi mushrooms seem to have the most benefit. Add mushrooms to your pizza, pasta or salad.

Lemons:
The high content of Vitamin C in lemons can help keep the immune system strong. Vitamin C has shown to help decrease the length of time someone experiences symptoms of the cold or flu. Try adding lemon to your morning water or in your salad dressing.

For more immune help for yourself and your family, connect with me!

Ask me about the “Natural Flu Shot”. Safe for all ages including kids!

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