Friday, November 18, 2011

Superfoods to Stomp out a Cold

Well, here we are again - facing the start of cold and flu season. Already half the people in my office are coughing and sneezing everywhere! For me - so far, so good. I follow a pretty aggressive regimen of vitamins and supplements throughout the winter months - plus I eat lots of good foods!

An Ikea garlic press, with pressed garlic.Image via WikipediaMany people don't realize that not only do healthy, nutrient-dense foods nourish your body and help the cells grow and reproduce, they also help arm your body’s defenses to ward off attacks from germs that cause colds. Low-fat meats, fruits, vegetables and whole (especially sprouted) grains all play a part in preparing your body to do battle.

Another important component of your anti-cold defense system is water. When your body is dehydrated, it’s at an increased risk of germs latching on and not letting go. So be sure to drink plenty of water and decaffeinated drinks to help your body stay hydrated and ready.

Just one cup of yogurt a day may work to keep the gastrointestinal tract healthier, which can help ward off colds. It has to be yogurt with live cultures, as this is the key ingredient that helps keep the GI track ready to rumble. And an added bonus to eating yogurt - recent studies suggest regular dairy consumption helps you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.  Yogurt is easy to make on your own, or get some good cultured stuff at the healthfood store.

Garlic contains allicin, an antibiotic that has been shown to prevent complications from a cold in some research. Garlic can be added to many of your favorite dishes to spice them up and help you suit up to do battle against cold germs.

Yellow and green Bell peppers, North End marke...Image via WikipediaIt’s been said an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Well, so can an orange. One orange a day provides your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C (assuming it's fresh, which oranges from the grocery store may not be). Oranges are also abundant in flavonoids, which helps your body’s cells regenerate and stay healthy and strong. Green bell peppers are the vegetable family’s best vitamin C source. Add them to a salad, or simply slice one up and eat it raw - or add one to a smoothie (a new favorite of mine). Flavonoids are also found in peppers. You may even want to prepare a green pepper dip seasoned with garlic for an added germ-kicking effect - yum!

Lean ground beef, especially when prepared with a bit of garlic, can maintain cell health and fight off illness. It’s a good source of protein, selenium and zinc, and when eaten with a bit of tomato, is a great defense during cold season.

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