Flu-Fighting Foods

Source: Elizabeth Yarnell, www.gloriousonepotmeals.com

Winter doesn’t have to mean the misery of colds, flu, and other viral infections if you feed your body what it needs to fight them off.

A run-down body that is out of balance internally and externally provides an inviting environment for viruses to come in and stay for a while. While it is difficult to live in a society and not come into contact with the multitude of germs that are literally everywhere during the winter months, you can reduce your own susceptibility and strengthen your immune system by simply choosing the right foods to put on your plate.

Eat leafy greens every day. Kale, spinach, seaweed, and algae are excellent sources of vitamin D, the immunity-booster we usually get from sunshine in the summertime. Along with contributing to a stronger defense against coughing colleagues, recent studies indicate that higher vitamin D levels can benefit ailments as diverse as osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis.

Include kiwis, grapefruit, or orange juice in your daily routine. All are great sources of vitamin C, the antioxidant we’ve known for decades to be powerful in fighting colds and flu. It’s also found in cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, cayenne pepper, and broccoli.

Snack on almonds and sunflower seeds. Not only do they supply vitamin E, an antioxidant that fights off free radicals and keeps skin soft and young-looking, but they are a great source of essential fatty acids to keep body systems running smoothly.

Enjoy your garlic! The stinky bulb was once worn in a garland to ward off disease, a superstition that actually has scientific basis as eating garlic can provide a variety of health benefits, including a boost to the immune system that can help ward off nasty bugs. Besides, eating garlic usually ensures that people keep a bit of distance—always a desirable action for avoiding contagion with a flu virus!

Spike it with ginger. Ginger, long used as a folk remedy, can open nasal passages, soothe nausea, and help the immune system work.

Finally, don‘t overlook the power of complex carbohydrates from whole grains, sweet potatoes, and beans. Our bodies need complex carbs for energy and when not enough are present it begins cannibalizing other tissues for the power needed to function. This creates a deficit somewhere else in the body, weakening the defenses along the line and opening a toehold for invading germs.

Elizabeth Yarnell is a Certified Nutritional Consultant, MS patient, inventor and author of the award-winning cookbook, Glorious One-Pot Meals: A new quick & healthy approach to Dutch oven cooking. Her recipes are protected by U.S. patent 6,846,504. Visit Elizabeth online and subscribe to her free newsletter at www.gloriousonepotmeals.com