Immune-boosting foods can help you fight the flu.

Since it is flu season again, most individuals receive flu vaccines and work to stay healthy. Can certain foods or supplements help boost the immune system and aid in the “staying healthy” goal?

Maintain a healthy immune system.

While having a healthy immune system is beneficial during the cold and flu season, consider the following recommendations for keeping your immune system robust all year:

Concentrate on a well-balanced diet.

Don’t miss meals to keep your body fueled. To acquire those immune-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, aim for five to nine servings of vegetables and fruits every day. One medium piece of fresh fruit, 1 cup of berries or melons, or 1/2 cup of canned fruit packed in its own juice constitutes one serving of fruit. A vegetable serving is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. It is usually preferable to obtain these nutrients from foods rather than from vitamin or mineral supplements. Many herbal remedies are offered to help combat colds or decrease their duration, but before taking any supplements or drugs, consult with a health care practitioner. Don’t forget about fluids. Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day. The best option is plain water.

Stop the transmission of pathogens.

Handwashing and good hygiene help keep germs at bay. Always wash produce before eating it or using it in recipes. To minimize the spread and growth of bacteria, clean glasses, forks, spoons, and other utensils.

Increase your sleep and decrease your stress.

To avoid the virus, getting enough sleep and managing stress are equally as crucial as eating well.

According to research, a lack of sleep and excessive stress contribute to sickness and poor overall health, so:
  • Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep each day, while children need eight to 14 hours, depending on age.
  • Healthy ways to cope with stress include meditating, listening to music, or journaling.
  • Physical activity is another strategy to manage stress and may reduce the risk of some chronic diseases that can weaken your immune system.

You can get the flu even if you eat well, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and control your stress. If this is the case, your illness may not last as long, and you may not feel as miserable.

Here are some immune-boosting vitamin misconceptions and facts:

Chicken soup can make you feel better.

Chicken soup has numerous health benefits, according to the National Institutes of Health. Your favorite recipe most likely contains ingredients that combat inflammation, increase hydration, and stimulate mucus production. Drink plenty of liquids, such as water, broth, or electrolyte-containing sports drinks.

Myth: Vitamin C can keep you healthy.

Vitamin C may lessen the duration of a cold when taken before it begins, but it does not prevent you from becoming ill.

Myth: Dairy causes an increase in mucus production.

You’ve probably heard that milk and other dairy products aggravate congestion during illness. This has not been confirmed by research.

Choose immune-boosting nutrients.

These nutrients are important for immunological health:
  • Beta carotene
    Beta carotene is found in plant foods such as sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, mangoes, broccoli, and tomatoes.
  • Vitamin C-rich foods include citrus fruits, berries, melons, tomatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli.
  • Vitamin D is found in fatty fish and eggs. Milk and 100% juices fortified with vitamin D are also good sources.
  • Zinc
    Zinc tends to be better absorbed from foods such as beef and seafood, but it’s also found in plant-based sources, including wheat germ, beans, nuts, and tofu.
  • Probiotics
    Probiotics are good bacteria that promote health. You’ll find them in cultured dairy products, such as yogurt, and in fermented foods, such as kefir and kimchi.
  • Protein comes from animal and plant sources, including milk, yogurt, eggs, beef, chicken, seafood, nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils.

Stay healthy. Meanwhile, here are some dishes that incorporate immune-boosting foods:

Chicken noodle soup with dill

6 people

  • 10 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces Whole-wheat egg noodles (3 cups)
  • 4 cups shredded cooked skinless chicken breast (about 1 pound)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste

Bring the broth to a boil in a Dutch oven. Add carrots, celery, ginger, and garlic; cook uncovered over medium heat until vegetables are just tender, about 20 minutes. Add the noodles and chicken; simmer until the noodles are just tender, 8–10 minutes. Stir in the dill and lemon juice.

Nutrition per serving (1½ cups): 267 calories, 4 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 38 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 330 g sodium.

Tomato apple jam

Serves 4
Serve as condiment with chicken steak, fish, fried eggs, or toast.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onions, diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups tomatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups apples, unpeeled and diced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt (decrease if on sodium restriction)

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sautee onions for two minutes. Then add all the spices; toast, and stir for two minutes. Add the tomatoes, apples, vinegar, and sugar. Mix together and simmer over low heat for 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally. season to taste.

Nutrition per serving (2 tablespoons): 24 calories, 0.5 g total fat, 0.1 g saturated fat, 0.3 g monounsaturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 0.3 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g dietary fiber, 48 g sodium.

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