Fall has settled in, bringing with it the inevitable cold and flu season. Being a mom and having sick kids is tough! Being a sick mom AND having sick kids is the worst! Try warding off these microscopic invaders with food first, before you open the medicine cabinet.
Here are eight common foods to boost your immune system and help keep you and your family happy!
1. Blueberries: Blueberries are high in Vitamin C. They contain antioxidants, antiviral properties, as well as zinc, which has been shown to help reduce risk of the flu. Blueberries also contain a substance called quercetin, which some studies have shown may possibly reduce the risk of contracting the flu virus. Aug. 2008 issue of Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
2. Broccoli and Cauliflower: These cruciferous veggies are rich in antioxidant vitamins helping to boost your immune system.
3. Cinnamon: Traditional Chinese medicine uses cinnamon to ward off colds and flu at the onset. Cinnamon has also demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Button Mushrooms: Mushrooms are thought to have powerful immune-boosting effects on the body. They have strong antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Raw or cooked, they are great to add to your diet.
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5. Red Bell Pepper: One large red bell pepper contains more Vitamin C than an average orange!
6. Fish: Oily fish like salmon and tuna are especially helpful. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to reduce harmful inflammation keeping the body healthier and better able to fight off colds, flus and other diseases.
7. Garlic: Garlic contains allicin, an organosulfur compound that has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Consumption of garlic has been said to help fight off as well as shorten the length of a cold.
8. Dark Chocolate: This is many people’s favorite (including my own)! After all, who doesn’t like a bite of good quality dark chocolate? Dark chocolate contains high levels of antioxidants called flavonoids. Antioxidants help rid the body of free radicals, which are destructive molecules implicated in many diseases and conditions. Just remember, a small amount goes a long way!
Try adding a few of these foods into your diet each week. Experiment with new recipes. Try new food combinations. Just have fun with it!