Having a healthy, balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains and healthy fat, can provide you with essential nutrients that play a large role in your immunity.
Q: What are the best foods for cold and flu season?
A: There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it: Cold and flu season has arrived! It’s time to get serious about fighting off those viruses, and one of the best ways is with your diet. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats is not only good for managing your weight and well-being; it’s also a powerful way to boost your immune system naturally.
A well-rounded diet including foods like those listed above, along with regular exercise, has been shown to help boost your immune system. Here’s how:
- Getting enough protein, specifically lean protein, from lean cuts of red meat, fish, poultry, seafood, beans, nuts and low-fat dairy can help with antibody production. Antibodies are keys to fighting off infection.
- Including foods like low-fat yogurt and fermented dairy products (such as kefir) with live cultures in your diet can provide probiotics (good bacteria) to help you maintain a healthy digestive system. Research shows again and again that a healthy digestive system is linked to a strong immune system.
- Vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help activate your immune system, is a popular choice to ward off cold and flu viruses, but did you know that it’s not just found in citrus? Fruits and vegetables like bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, and greens are all high in vitamin C and make a tasty addition to any meal.
- Enjoy zinc-rich foods like oysters, nuts, lean red meat and yogurt in your daily diet. This trace element is essential to proper function of cells in the immune system.