School is back in for most of the country and you know what that means, right? Those sweet little people love to share cold and flu bugs! Even if you no longer have children at home their friends and family surround you every day at work, in the grocery store, at church or any place there are people!
If you have followed me…
If you have followed me for awhile you know I’m not a fan of the flu shot unless you are severely immune compromised. We have a wonderful immune system that is up to the task of mounting an attack on incoming virus’s IF we give it the tools it needs.
This is a great time of the year to start on an immune building program and keep it up through the winter months. Yes, I do like supplements for this (and we use them) but let’s first look at what foods will build that immune system and start to incorporate them into your weekly shopping list.
8 Foods for Cold and Flu Protection
1. Garlic, Onions and Cruciferous Vegetables – These are #1 on my list and by far one of the most powerful food groups for immune boosting and detoxification. This family of foods are a fall and winter crop so readily available during the cold and flu season. Eat at least 3-4 servings a week from this family. Here is a great list to choose from!
2. Mushrooms – The medicinal use of mushrooms has a very long tradition in the Asian countries that goes back thousands of years. Mushroom nutrition benefits also include their capability to inhibit viruses and decrease the severity of illness in those who are already sick. Step outside the box and try Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Oyster and Cordyceps (usually in supplement form). I love to stir fry these into an asian dish or slice and put into an Immune Building Soup that you can freeze.
3. Tea – Chamomile tea promotes the production of white blood cells (macrophages and B-lymphocytes) in your body. These cells are the biggest infection-fighters of your immune system. Dandelion tea is a detoxifier for the liver which needs support to clear out toxins that can lower your immune system. Ginseng tea is know to encourage white blood cell production as well as the development of interferon, a crucial protein, that prevents virus replication. Green tea, and Japanese Macha in particular, is rich in polyphenols called “catechins”. The catechins in green tea where found to be at least 25 times more potent than vitamins C and E!!!
4. Citrus Fruits – Most of us turn to Vitamin C when we feel a virus coming on and rightfully so! Vitamin C increases the white cells (your first line of immune defense) so let’s eat the foods loaded with Vitamin C. Isn’t it interesting that citrus fruits come out during the winter? We do have to be careful and not over-do them as they are high in sugar.
5. Ginger Root – Ginger is anti-inflammatory which helps “tone down” the immune system. When we are inflamed the immune system is over-working on the wrong thing. We want to lower inflammation so we can free the immune system up to handle incoming virus’s. Great to add to tea, soups and stir-fries.
6. Almonds – loaded with Vitamin E they provide a key tool in your immune building tool box. Vitamin E is fat soluble while Vitamin C is water soluble (out of the body in 60 minutes). Vitamin E is needed in every cell in your body and is a primary nutrient for building immune cells.
7. Chicken soup – don’t laugh, grandma was right! Only eat homemade, store bought is full of sodium and chemicals. Get that crock pot out and make a batch to freeze for when your feeling crummy, pull it out of the freezer for an immune boosting treat. Poultry (always use organic) is high in B-6 which is important for the development of new red blood cells. It also contains N-acetyl-cysteine, a form of cysteine, which breaks apart mucus and has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects . Poultry also contains protein which is essential for building new immune cells! Wow…..grandma sure was smart!
8. Honey – Honey has potent antibacterial effects because of it’s high content of antimicrobial compounds. A great “tea” is 1 teaspoon of raw honey, juice of 1 lemon in 1 cup of any of the tea’s mentioned above.
“Food is Medicine”
Never underestimate the power of food to either heal the body or destroy the body. During this time of year be vigilant in avoiding excess sugar and alcohol, both immune depressants. Prep you pantry and freezer with these wonderful immune building foods so when your in a hurry or stressed they are readily available.
In my next blog I’ll share my “top picks” for immune boosting supplements!
To your health,
P.S. I’m SUPER excited to have been approved to be an affiliate for Butcher Box meats. All grass-fed, sustainably raised, no antibiotics or hormones EVER! We have found these to be the best meat, poultry and pork at the best price and I have a special coupon for you…..use AP10 for $10 off your first order. You can have monthly or bi-monthly delivery and you can customize your orders to fit your needs. Clean Meats are SO important for your long-term health and right now they are offering FREE steaks and bacon, check it out!