Beat the Sniffles with Immunity-Boosting Foods

In the midst of the travel and cold season, it’s important to incorporate more immune-strengthening foods in our diet. Try adding more of these vitamin rich foods onto your plate this winter:

Mushrooms: These fungi have powerful disease-fighting properties that go beyond vitamins and minerals alone. While different types of mushrooms have distinct healing properties, all mushrooms are prized for their ability to eliminate mucus and toxins in the body, and their natural detox powers are fantastic for our inner health. Shiitakes fight colds and flu, allergies and a depressed immune system, while white button mushrooms are packed with B vitamins and detoxifying power.

Pickles: Or any fermented food populate your digestive tract with friendly, immune-boosting bacteria that help you assimilate nutrients and stay your healthiest. Some experts estimate that the majority of your body’s immune powers originate in your gut! Good digestion is a major factor in overall health,  so reach for the sauerkraut, kimchi, or miso to maintain the proper balance. Note: be sure your pickles are cured in a salt brine (versus vinegar, like most kinds you find in the grocery aisle) to ensure that they contain good probiotic bacteria.

Green Tea with Lemon: Drinking green tea is not only a stress-reducing ritual, it’s a dose of preventative medicine. A 2010 International Journal of Cancer study found ingesting a little citrus juice with your green tea enhances its disease-preventing potential by stabilizing its natural polyphenols during digestion.

Garlic: A classic cold-fighter, garlic is a strong antifungal, antibacterial food that keeps our bodies adept at fighting off disease by boosting our white blood cell defenses. So, go ahead add in a few extra cloves to soups, stews and sauces this season.

Ginger: Used in ancient medicine, ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and in case you’re already under the weather, it also eases congestion and existing cold and flu symptoms.

Salmon: This powerful fish has a rare dietary source of vitamin D, an important immunity vitamin (actually a hormone) that may of us lack in the winter when we spend less time under the sun. A 2012 Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry study linked zinc deficiency to disease-related inflammation and even DNA damage. According to the study, about 40 percent of Americans are zinc deficient and deficiency risk increases with age.