Life is hectic these days! As we work so hard to compete, we tend to ignore our health constantly. Our immune system is fighting a battle every day as we unknowingly keep contacting with germs – at work, at the movies, at the grocery store, in the playground with kids and all other places where we go.
You won’t even realize when the virus gets inside you to create a mess in your body. We are more prone to germs especially during spring when the winter bids adieu and summer peeks in. Spring is the flu season. And we know how incapable we become when the cold hits right on our faces.
That’s why we have suggested an effective immune system diet for fighting cold and flu. A good diet is essential to have a well-tuned immune system. Immune system cells are the warriors of our body; they are constantly battling germs and conquering.
When we eat poorly, we provide less energy to the warriors. According to scientific research, malnutrition is one of the biggest factors for immune deficiency.
A diet that lacks macronutrients such as protein, healthy fats and carbs significantly impairs the immune system’s ability to fight viral infections.
Although we are going to focus on foods that stimulate the immune system, you should know there are certain foods that bring your immunity down. Processed foods or gourmets should be avoided during the cold and flu season.
Immune System Foods for Cold and Flu
Our kitchen is filled with these super-foods. All we need to do is identify them in order to treat the ailment correctly.
Garlic is one of our favorite ingredients. It adds versatility to cuisines. And it also is one of the top boosters of our immune system. Allicin is the major active property found in garlics which is also an antimicrobial and antibacterial component.
People who regularly add garlic in their diet are not attacked by cold and flu virus. And even if they are attacked, it won’t be severe. Garlics also promote healthy gut which is essential in getting rid of toxins, bacteria and viruses.
However, instead of popping pills, you should consume the real garlic for more effective results.
[Read: Natural Remedies for Cold]
In India, turmeric was used as traditional medicine. Even now you will find turmeric, especially the fresh raw ones used as a medicine to cure wounds, cuts and cold.
Turmeric is a super food as it is high on antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. It is also used as a cosmetic product that reduces blemish, clear skins and dark circles.
Turmeric milk is the greatest remedy for congestion and coughs and turmeric in your diet not only boosts the immune system but also improves skin texture.
3. Plain Yogurt
Yogurt is one of the richest sources of probiotic components. It actively boosts your body’s defence system against all viruses.
Any fermented food such as yogurt contain higher amount of probiotics that not only help improve our digestive tract but also shore up the activity of our fighter cells.
Kombucha and Kimchi are other alternatives to yogurt if you are a vegan or dairy allergic. However, please go for the unsweetened ones to avoid gaining calories.
4. Chicken Soup
Chicken clear Soup is not only good for your immune system but also great for your taste buds. Severe cold can drain all your energy and leave you sour in the mouth.
Chicken soup with a dash of pepper and salt will be flavourful and sumptuous during the coughing days. However, chicken soup, if given in the early stages of flu, influences your immune system to ward off the viruses faster.
Its broth will ease your throat and keep you hydrated. Hot soups raise your body temperature and aids in loosening mucus secretions.
When you cook chicken it releases amino acid cysteine, an important component for treating bronchitis. You can add vegetables in your chicken soup to increase its vitamin content.
[Read: Chicken Soup for Cold]
5. Dark Green Leaves
Vitamin C is the cold fighting vitamin. Although when we talk about vitamin C, we naturally think of citrus fruits. However, dark green leaves such as kale, spinach and arugula are also a tremendous source of Vitamin C.
Research shows that when you constantly add Vitamin C in your diet, your cold duration will be shorter than the normal.
You can use a combination of Garlic and green leaves for a tastier version. You can sauté garlic, greens and turmericroughly for your meal. Remember, the darker the greens, higher the fighting capacity.
6. Sweet Potato
Although sweet potato is not a typical cold-fighting food, it has a high content of Vitamin A, a key player that maintains the health of your mucosal surfaces. Mucosal surfaces include your skin, your nose as well as your gastrointestinal tract. Your skin is the first warrior of your immune system.
A healthy skin keeps infections from entering your body. Sweet potato keeps your mucus membranes healthy and wards off any viral infection.
You can make a lovely sweet potato salad with mustard and yoghurt dressings.
7. Pumpkin Seeds
Remember, along with the Vitamins, Zinc is an important element that our body requires in fighting off the treacherous and unceasing cold and flu. You need a good amount of zinc all through the year but doctors recommend doubling the quantity during the flu season.
Pumpkin seeds are one of the natural resources of zinc that help kick the cold invader out of your system. If you are a vegetarian, pumpkin seeds are good option for sourcing mineral. If not pumpkin seeds, you can try having sunflower seeds
How can you have pumpkin seeds? Well they are crispers; you can toss a handful and add in salad or soup of your choice.
[Read: Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds]
Whenever you feel sick, remember your mom asked you to have ginger tea? Yes, that’s it.
Ginger is a powerful antioxidant that cleanses our stomach and colon and protects them from infections. It fights inflammation and sore throats. It also helps us to fight cold much bravely and continuously.
The best way to consume ginger is by making a lovely tea. The warmth and medicinal properties of the ginger tea will relieve you from cold symptoms such as a cough, headache, and sore throat.
However, please note that in case you do not find any relief from the above-mentioned methods, it is recommended to seek the advice of a doctor.