Let’s talk strategy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a wave of what is expected to be the worst flu outbreak in the past decade is wiping out much of the nation. It’s time to bring in the serious, heavy-lifting immunity-building troops. Hint: Boosting your immunity goes way beyond guzzling orange juice (which, by the way, can be loaded with added sugars, so watch those labels!). Stockpile foods from these six groupings recommended by Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Heather Mangieri, RD, LDN, and start shoveling in abundant amounts to build your defenses against the nasties.
1. Apricots, carrots, eggs, kale, milk, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers
These are all high in vitamin A. The immune-system-regulating vitamin maintains the health of the skin and tissues in your respiratory system, intestines, and stomach, as well as you mouth, to protect against infection.
2. Almonds, black-eyed peas, lean beef, milk, tofu, wheat bran
All of these wonders contain zinc, which strengthens immune-system functioning and is another secret weapon in your flu-fighting grocery cart.
These power players are chock-full of vitamin E, which should be added to your cold-and-flu-fighting alphabet soup. Vita E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and may improve immune-system functioning.
4. Strawberries, kiwi, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, papaya, tangerines
Powerhouse vitamin C, you knew it was coming. Add these fresh fruits to your salads and yogurts or eat them whole. Also add thawed frozen fruits to smoothies. When buying o.j., on the ingredients list look for 100 percent orange juice to be listed first (meaning no sugars added). Vita C protects your body from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies and boosting immunity.
5. Garlic and Ginger
Slip at least one into every meal. Several studies show garlic may help prevent cold and flu. Lop crushed or whole raw cloves into omelettes, salads, sauces, soups, and onto fish before baking. It’ll taste pungent. But, oh is it potent. According to The New York Times, let crushed garlic sit at room temp 15 minutes before cooking to spur the enzyme reaction that kickstarts its healthy compounds. Add the natural antiviral herb ginger to teas, rich soups, and atop fish before baking.
6. Beans, eggs, lean meat, lean poultry, peas, soy, unsalted nuts and seeds
Power to the protein. It’s a part of the body’s defense mechanism. It’s especially easy to add protein sources to the winter stews and low-sodium soups you’re likely simmering.
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What superfoods are You stockpiling to ward off cold and flu?