Powerful Flu-Fighting Fall Flavors
This fall and winter, give your immune system a boost and stay healthy while enjoying all of the seasonal flavors. Diet alone won't guarantee a sneeze-free fall and winter though. Fending off the flu takes a comprehensive approach. Staying well-hydrated, eating an overall balanced diet, getting 6-8 hours of sleep every night, keeping stress in check, staying active and incorporating the seven nutrient-packed foods below will keep you healthy, strong, and hopefully ward off illness from now, through the holidays, and into the New Year.
Oats and Barley
These two whole grains are rich in beta-glucan, a type of fiber that has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Incorporate this fiber by replacing other grains, such as rice, with barley, adding a ½ cup of either grain to soups and stews, or replacing cold breakfast cereal with plain oats. Aim for one ½ cup serving of either grain per day.
High in antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E, pumpkin also has 7g of fiber and contains just 85 calories per cup. Add pureed pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, to oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, make a pumpkin soup, or mix into mashed potatoes for a fun fall twist!
Replace regular potatoes with sweet potatoes for added Vitamin A. Try roasting them in the oven to make homemade sweet potato fries or bake and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Add garlic to pasta sauce, sautéed vegetables, or roast garlic in the oven, mix with herbs and spread on chicken, pork, or beef for a creamy flavorful topping.
Full of Vitamin C and antioxidants, don't wait for cranberry sauce on Turkey Day to enjoy this fruit. Add fresh or frozen cranberries to smoothies, oatmeal, or chop and add to fresh spinach salad.
Mushrooms can increase white blood cells– our front line of infection and illness fighters– and strengthen their immune power. Add sautéed mushrooms to omelets, pasta, sauce, or chicken soup.
Hot Green or Black Tea
You have to drink several cups per day to reap the immune enhancing benefits from the antioxidants in tea, but it's well worth replacing your cup of coffee with tea. Drink it plain, sans honey, sugar, or milk, and squeeze the tea bag before removing from your mug to get the most benefit.
These 7 foods are worth keeping in your diet year round due to their phytochemical content, protective anti-oxidant properties, and low calorie content.