Flu Fighting Foods
Sniffles, sneezes and coughs…these are the familiar sounds of cold and flu season. In addition to washing your hands often, staying active and getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet can help to boost your body’s ability to fight off any bugs that come your way. To keep your immune system strong this season, make sure to stock up on foods that are rich in the following nutrients:
Vitamin A- Found in eggs, fortified milk, liver and fish oil. Vitamin A can also be formed in our body from carotenoids (such as beta carotene) which are found in bright red, yellow and orange vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots and bell peppers and also in dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach.
Vitamin C- Good sources include citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, berries, melons and peppers.
Vitamin D- Although our bodies can produce vitamin D when the sun shines on our skin, it is important to get plenty of vitamin D through food as well. Good sources include fortified milk and fatty fish such as tuna and salmon.
Vitamin E- Found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
Zinc- Good sources include meat, seafood and liver.
Protein- Protein rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts and dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt.
Probiotics- Foods like yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut contain “good” bacteria that can help reduce the growth of harmful bacteria in the intestines promoting digestive health and may also enhance our immune system.
Iron- Heme iron is found in animal sources, such as beef and chicken. Heme iron is better absorbed than nonheme iron, found in plant sources, such as fortified cereals, beans and spinach. Vitamin C helps to increase the absorption of iron from non-heme sources so make sure to add some strawberries to your spinach salad or drink orange juice with your breakfast cereal, especially if you are a vegetarian.