- Garlic: This incredibly distinguished member of the onion family can pack a big punch to strengthening the immune system. This is due to the sulfur compound found in garlic which is known as allicin. Eating garlic can increase white blood cell count and significantly reduce free radicals in the bloodstream. It is also very good for cardiovascular health. There are many ways to include garlic in your diet. You can grate some and sautee with vegetables or add to soups and sauces.
- Ginger: Ginger contains substances that help fight infections and aid in digestion. Particularly during the holidays when many individuals are tempted to overindulge themselves in activities that can jeopardize their health, having a delicious cup of hot ginger tea will treat stomach aches and fight off the flu.
- Goji Berries: The now famous goji berries really have great nutritional and immunity enhancing abilities. Rich in vitamin A, you can easily grab a handful to eat any time of day.
- Yogurt: The healthy bacteria in yogurt are known as probiotics. Eating yogurt helps to maintain a healthy balance of good flora in your intestinal tract. This is important because a compromised intestinal tract can allow bacteria and viruses to flourish. Try to stick to the yogurts that are not loaded with extra sweeteners. There are many ways to have yogurt including delicious smoothies.
- Fruits: Fruits are fantastic for strengthening immunity. One of the best is the orange. Oranges are known to help fight against cold and flu. Oranges have a very high vitamin c content which of course strengthens immunity. Additional good fruit choices are kiwi, strawberries and papaya.
- Turmeric: This fragrant spice is widely used in Asian cooking. Turmeric is a powerful cold and flu fighter due to the curcumin compound that it contains. It is also an anti-inflammatory and will boost your immunity. There are many ways to use turmeric. Adding to recipes such as rice dishes and seafood is a delicious way to experience this spice.
- Oregano: Oregano is very helpful to fighting colds and cases of flu and protecting the immune system. This delicious herb can enhance many dishes such as portions of pasta and soups.
- Seafood: Fish is very heart healthy and immune supporting due to the high levels of omega 3. Seafood is renowned for its heart-healthy properties; Omega 3 fatty acids also boost the immune system. Trout, tuna and salmon are excellent choices.
- Green Tea: Numerous studies have shown that the antioxidant polyphenols in green tea help to fortify the immune system. A delicious cup of green tea can keep the flu and cold bug away.
The number one supplement is Vitamin C which will help prevent colds and more to ensure you stay fit during the holidays. The body produces white blood cells which are infection-fighting cells when it has enough Vitamin C. There are many ways to consume Vitamin C including, of course, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. You can help increase your intake by taking supplements with as little as 200 mg per day and receive significant health benefits. In addition to its antioxidant power, vitamin c also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by elevating the cholesterol or "hdl". Studies have shown that people who consume sufficient amounts of this vitamin have lower rates of prostate and breast cancer. You can consume 200 mg per day with six servings of fruits and vegetables.
Additional Supplements: Zinc increases white blood cell production and therefore boost the immune system. It is much safer to get zinc from your diet rather than supplementing as too much can inhibit immunity. Aim for 15-25 milligrams daily. The best food sources include zinc-fortified cereals, beef, turkey, oysters and beans. Three ounces of beef contains 6 milligrams of zinc. As with any supplementation, always consult with your medical doctor before taking, particularly if you suffer from any health conditions or are taking prescription medications.