Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Superfoods for Fighting the Flu

Breakouts of the flu are responsible for millions of lost hours at both work and home each year, not to mention many miserable days trying to recover. If you’re wondering what you can do to naturally boost your immunity and prepare your body’s defenses, study the foods you’re eating, look at your family’s meals, and make the changes needed to ensure everyone is eating a well-balanced diet abundant in nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables (preferably organic), low-fat proteins, and complex carbohydrates.

Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...Image via WikipediaBlack currants are even richer in vitamin C than oranges, containing approximately three times the recommended daily intake for adults. It’s imperative that you get plenty of vitamin C since it helps prevent infections and helps keep the immune system healthy.

Pork has high levels of zinc and selenium, both of which help keep your immune system strong. It’s also one of the best sources of B vitamins and contains only a little more total fat than beef. So be sure to include a few pork entrees in your menu planning (but watch the source - commercially farmed pigs can be raised in really disgusting environments - and what they eat, you eat! For best health, choose free-range, naturally raised pork).

Mix up your morning breakfast with a glass of grapefruit juice instead of orange juice for a vitamin C-rich drink that's both sweet and tart. However, you should check with your doctor if you're on certain medications for blood pressure, AIDS, anxiety, or hay fever, as mixing grapefruit juice with certain drugs can lead to dangerous toxicity.

Brussel sprouts are a great vegetable source of vitamin C, are high in fiber and contain lots of folate as well. They improve anticarcinogenic glucosinolates, which have important cancer-fighting properties. They’re a great addition in a stew to provide lots of flu-busting nutrients.

Yogurt that includes live cultures has a positive effect on your GI tract, and as a result, helps the body purge the germs more quickly and effectively and fight the flu. You want your yogurt to contain the active culture L. acidophilus, which is also helpful in fighting off yeast infections.

English: Different potato varieties. – The pot...Image via WikipediaPotatoes are one of the most affordable sources of vitamin C, and nicely complement any entrĂ©e with their high levels of potassium and fiber. The skin contains the most fiber and the flesh just under the skin contains the most vitamin C. Fresh potatoes are the best source of vitamin C. Be careful of how you choose to prepare them, as soaking them in water robs them of their germ-busting vitamin C.

Whole wheat pasta is also rich in niacin, fiber, and iron. Its complex carbohydrates are an essential part of a healthy diet that will keep your immune system strong. Simply substitute recipes calling for traditional pasta with the whole wheat variety instead for a delicious and nutritious twist on your favorite pasta dishes.

But remember, an ounce prevention is worth a pound of cure! The best way to "fight" the flu this year is not to get it at all. Be sure to eat plenty of the foods above to build up a strong and healthy immune system, take some good immune-boosting supplements such as Vitamins C and D, get regular exercise and sleep, and above all, wash your hands a lot! (Recent studies have shown frequent hand-washing to be as effective as a flu shot!)

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