Immune Boosting Feel-Better Fast Foods

Posted On Feb 11, 2019 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

Bright, colorful foods on a table.

In the thick of cold and flu season, are there foods that can fight off those pesky viruses and colds? While nutrition alone won’t guarantee a sick-free winter, adding nutrient rich foods, especially those high in antioxidants like vitamin C, A, and those with natural anti-microbial and anti-viral properties may help lesson symptoms and aid in a faster recovery. Supplements may help, but whole foods are more effective and contain complete packages of micronutrients we can’t replicate in pill form. Along with getting plenty of rest, fluids, fresh air, and avoiding large amounts of alcohol, these 5 foods can help you get back to 100% faster:

  1. Add some heat to your plate

    Besides helping drain your sinuses, both red and green chili peppers contain Vitamin C, A, and capsaicin, which may help fight off colds and lessen the severity of symptoms.

  2. Honey

    Honey’s medicinal properties date back thousands of years. It has antimicrobial properties that can help boost the immune system from a number of ailments. I recommend still using in small amounts due to it’s high sugar content but adding to tea can help sooth sore throats, coughs, and general congestion from colds.

  3. Vitamin C and A

    Think brightly colored foods! Both A and C are powerful antioxidants and found abundantly in cantaloupe, pumpkin, oranges, carrots, berries, and sweet potatoes. Since berries aren’t in season, opt for frozen berries to add to oatmeal and smoothies. Frozen have just as much Vitamin C as fresh so you won’t miss out on any nutrition.

  4. Vitamin D

    Either from foods such as fortified milk, salmon, tuna, and mushrooms, sunlight (which is hard to do in the winter time!), or supplements, Vitamin D plays an important role in boosting immunity.

  5. Herbs and Spices

    Adding a boost of flavor and immune-enhancing antioxidants with no additional calories, herbs and spices are a great way to make nutritious delicious dishes. Oregano, ginger, garlic, and turmeric are some of the highest anti-microbial and anti-viral containing herbs and spices around and fairly versatile too. Try adding crushed ginger and garlic to stir fry vegetables or sprinkling oregano in with ground meat or chicken for a dose of flu-fighting power.

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