In the midst of cold and flu season, the best thing you can do is be proactive. In addition to washing your hands frequently, exercising daily, and getting enough sleep, you can improve your health by maintaining a nutritious diet. If you want your immune system to thrive, here are five foods you should add to your daily meals.
Ginger root has both antiviral and antibacterial properties. Ginger has been shown to stimulate the lungs’ production of interferon-beta (an antiviral protein), in addition to reducing mucus and congestion. One study even proved that ginger (in conjunction with garlic and lime) was capable of fighting off certain types of drug-resistant bacteria.
Oranges boast a long list of health perks, but when it comes to your immune system, this tasty fruit’s benefits rank near the top of the list. Because oranges have high vitamin C content, they are well known for their ability to reduce the severity of illnesses. Vitamin C supports immune function by guiding neutrophils (immune cells) to the location of infections.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are packed with vitamins and nutrients. In addition to vitamins C and K, dark green vegetables contain iron, calcium, fiber, folate, and carotenoids. But at the top of this vegetable’s impressive resume is its ability to trigger specialized proteins that help produce infection-destroying cells.
Adding tart cherries to your diet is a great way to strengthen your immunity. This fruit contains quercetin, which is an antioxidant that has natural antihistamine and antiviral compounds. Quercetin reduces the negative effects of flus, colds and respiratory infections by strengthening your cells’ ability to fight back.
Fresh garlic does wonders for your immune system. Allicin, a powerful compound found in crushed garlic, contains the infection-fighting benefits that garlic is known for. Not only does garlic help lower your chances of getting sick, it also has the ability to reduce the symptoms and duration of an illness, if you do catch a cold.
An effective immune system is your body’s first line of defense. With your help, your body will be able to ward off many of the illnesses that come your way. By adding these five foods to your diet, your immune system will be better equipped to keep you healthy and strong.