Food and a healthy lifestyle strengthen your immune system, which can aid in the battle against colds and flu. The idea is to make these changes now, rather than waiting until you become sick; you need to reform your food and lifestyle before the cold and flu germs get to you.
Tips for Boosting Your Immune System Through Food
Lisa Hark, PhD, RD, is the director of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Nutrition Education and Prevention Program. She discusses how the foods you eat and the way you live may help you prevent the worst symptoms of a cold or flu.
Rather of supplements, rely on whole foods.
Foods are better for boosting your immune system than dietary supplements because you get the complete nutritional bundle. For example, eating an orange rather to taking vitamin C tablets is healthier for you since the orange contains a variety of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin B-6, and antioxidant-rich flavonoids.
While we know that vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system, research suggest that taking large amounts of vitamin C does not help prevent colds and flu. We do know, however, that consuming vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables can help your immune system stay healthy.
Your immune system protects your body from infections, and the foods you consume have a big influence on how well your immune system fights colds and flu.
Fruits and vegetables are better at keeping your immune system prepared because they also include vitamins A and E, as well as flavonoids, which combine with vitamin C to keep your immune system and entire body healthy.
Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables may aid in the maintenance of a healthy immune system. In the winter, people consume less fruits and vegetables, which is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Every day, everyone requires at least five servings of fruits and vegetables to obtain enough vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants, which are all essential for a strong immune system.
Check the produce section of your grocery store for fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season for the greatest rates. Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are generally cheaper in the winter, so the cold and flu season is the best time to stock up on them.
According to Hark, eating frozen fruits and veggies is another cost-effective and easy method to enhance your nutrition while also supporting your immune system. Frozen vegetable options range from low-cost packages of peas, maize, and green beans to elaborately mixed fruits and vegetable meals topped with delicate sauces that may be microwaved.
Breakfast should include berries or sliced banana on whole-grain cereal, as well as a glass of orange or grapefruit juice. For lunch, pack a bunch of grapes or an apple, then top your sandwich with tomato slices, avocado, sprouts, and lettuce.
Serve a large salad as a nutritious meal, or start supper with a salad or vegetable soup. On the counter, have a dish of oranges, pluots, apples, and pears for fast snacks. Cut veggies can also be stored in the refrigerator, but keep in mind that they will lose some nutritious value.
Incorporating juice into your diet is another method to improve your fruit and vegetable intake. But not just any juice will suffice. Make careful to select 100% juices, since other juice drinks may include added sugar and empty calories.
Remember to include healthy proteins and whole grains in your diet.
Consume lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds as part of a well-balanced diet. Protein foods such as lean meats, dairy, eggs, and lentils are particularly essential because they provide the amino acids that your body need to construct immune system components.
Zinc and iron deficiencies, both of which can damage your immune system, may be avoided by eating lean meats.
Nutrition for Post-Cold or Flu
After you’ve caught a cold or the flu, it’s still vital to eat well. Even if you’re ill and don’t have much of an appetite, Hark advises that you eat as much as you can.
Make it a point to eat three meals every day, and don’t forget to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. While you are recovering, it is critical to receive adequate energy from the things you eat—you may not be running around or exerting much, but your body is working hard to get better.
Hark also emphasises the necessity of staying hydrated. Water and juices should be consumed throughout the day. (Are you sick of plain water? To add a little variation, add a dash of juice to water or seltzer).