Cold and Flu Protection

February 02, 2012

Don't let the unseasonably warm weather fool you, it's still the time of the year for colds.  Dressing for the season and keeping warm is important, but so is nutrition and overall fitness.  A healthy diet and exercise program  can protect yourself from catching a cold and aid in your recovery. You can add some specific food food items  to you diet to aid in boosting your immune system against colds and flus. 
  • Mushrooms are rich in selenium and antioxidants. Low levels of  selenium have been linked to increased risk of developing severe flu, while the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin found in these mushrooms promote a healthy immune system.
  • Almonds may bolster your immune system against the effects of stress and are rich in vitamin E, which help boost the immune system.
  • Garlic gives you several antioxidants to protect the immune system.
  • Tea is rich in disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids ... and relieves stress!
  • Spinach is a "super food," and is nutrient-rich.  It has folate to aid in the production of new cells and repair DNA, along with fiber and antioxidants.
  • Oysters are rich in the mineral zinc. Not an oyster fan?  A recent study tested the effectiveness of zinc lozenges in treating colds, and the researchers found that cold-infected volunteers who chewed on a 23-milligram zinc gluconate lozenge every 2 hours had significantly shorter colds than cold-infected volunteers who sucked on a placebo.
  • Sweet potatoes add the antioxidant beta-carotene to your diet, and are very efficient at removing free radicals from your system.
Other good rules of thumb to protect youself include:
  • Eat fruit and vegetables that are rich in vitamins A and C, such as citrus fruit, dark blue and red berries, carrots, beetroot, and green peppers.
  • Eliminate refined sugar, fatty dairy products, meat and white flour to reduce mucous prouction.
  • Avoid stimulants such as coffee and alcohol that increase stress, and can depress your immune system.
  • Drink at least 8 large glasses of water per day to help flush toxic by-products out of your body quickly and efficiently.
Good nutrition is vital to avoid or recover from a cold. Eat healthy and strengthen that immune system -- you'll discover that colds may not be so common after all!

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