Good Food Choices Build a Good Immune System

Although homecoming parades and football games signal the arrival of fall, they also mark the beginning of the dreaded flu and cold season. But have no fear: we’re here to offer a few pointers on how to mount a strong defense against these common illnesses.

While most everyone knows the importance of a flu shot, less well known is the immune-bolstering advantage offered by certain foods.

Choose plant-based foods

An article on livestrong.com stresses the importance of embracing a plant-based diet over an animal-based one. Plant-based foods have phytonutrients, which studies have shown lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Papaya and pineapple have an additional benefit: they contain an enzyme that helps break down and dissolve debris produced by the body as it fights infections.

A second livestrong.com article outlines a plan for boosting your immune system. With more than 200 viruses responsible for colds and other respiratory infections, the best defense against a cold (or the flu) is to have an immune system that is strong and can overcome a viral or bacterial assault.

The best strategy for building up your immune system is to eat a variety of foods. Let’s take a trip through the grocery store to get plenty of ideas for stocking our shelves and fridge.

Sardines

The world seems to be split into those who love sardines and those who would refuse to eat them even when bribed with large sums of money. If you are in the second group, you may want to learn to like them. Sardines are much higher in omega-3 fats, which reduce the risk of heart disease and cell-damaging body inflammation, than other fish. There are 1,259 milligrams of omega-3s in a three-ounce serving of canned sardines, 905 milligrams in rainbow trout, 840 milligrams in salmon and 196 milligrams in canned tuna. Go sardines!

Yellow Bell Pepper

Move over oranges. Make room for yellow bell peppers, a terrific source of immune-boosting vitamin C. According to the article, research shows that vitamin C is especially important to building a healthy immune in older adults and children.

Mushrooms

While all mushrooms are rich in B vitamins and antioxidants, nutritionist Jackie Newgent says that two are especially important. “Maitake and shiitake mushrooms, in particular, contain plant nutrients that seem to have immune-boosting ability.”

Citrus fruits

Eating oranges and other citrus fruit on a regular basis is vital to building a healthy immune system. They are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant, which fights cell-damaging free radicals.

Say ‘no’ to sugar and dairy

Added sugars can weaken your immune system. If you do catch a cold or the flu, eating food high in sugar is likely to slow your recovery because it interferes with your body’s attempt to fight the intruder. Dairy is also a bad choice because it can thicken the mucus that is already present, increasing congestion.

All of us at Meth-Wick hope this information helps you enjoy an active and healthy fall!

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