Mariel here. I admit it, I may be one of the only people on the planet that doesn’t get the flu shot. I mean, I work from home and part of the beauty of being a writer is marginal contact with alien germs, other than what my dogs drag in. However, I’m not so blase as to think I won’t fall victim to the flu, or, God forbid, the dreaded swine flu, so I’ve been trying to step up my immune-boosting regimen this fall with a multi-vitamin and, well, that’s about it.
However, in my daily news perusal, I stumbled across a feature from Skin Inc on Flu-Fighting Superfoods. I’ve never been afraid of buying into hype – especially when it’s sitting in my own fridge, ripe for the eating – and according to the American Dietetic Association, consuming a diet of phytonutrient-rich fruits and veggies can help stave off the influenza virus. That sounds pretty solid to me. Chef John Kuropatwa weighed in at Skin Inc with his fave flu-fighters and then we added a few of our own (along with recipes). Couldn’t hurt, right?
- Yogurt—Probiotics contain live, active cultures. These healthy bacteria help keep your intestinal track free of germs. Remember, stick with unsweetened or Greek yogurt so you’re not inhaling a pound of sugar, which actually stresses your system by spiking blood sugar levels
- Cod–This buttery-soft white fish is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help regulate your body’s inflammatory response, support immune system function, enhance mood and memory, and relieve stress. Recipe: Japanese Miso Cod
- Mushrooms—These help to increase the activity level of white blood cells, which keeps you healthier. Recipe: Asparagus & Portabella Mushroom Tart
- Garlic—Loaded with allicin, garlic is a powerful and protective compound that helps ward off bacteria and infection. Recipe: Herb & Garlic Chicken with Roasted Figs
- Red bell peppers—These veggies help boost your immune system because they contain phytochemicals, vitamin C and beta carotene. Recipe: Ratatouille
- Broccoli—It contains powerful antioxidants that help keep the body healthy. Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe donates a portion of its proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).
- Tea—It has polyphenols and antioxidants that help provide protection. Zhena’s Pink Tea for Women’s Health also supports the BCRF.
- Tomatoes--They are excellent sources of lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant that helps ward off cellular damage caused by free radicals and is strongly linked to improved auto-immune function. Lycopene is more readily absorbed by your bod when processed. Recipe: Lazy Man’s Pasta all’Amatraciana
- Turmeric—This powerful spice is a polyphenol that helps maintain health. Click here for All Recipe‘s Top 20 Turmeric Recipes.
- Beef—It contains zinc, which helps boost the immune system. Zinc can also be found in fortified breakfast cereals, crab, chickpeas, and cashews. Recipe: Marinated Flank Steak
- Sweet potatoes—These contain vitamin A, which helps to regulate the immune system and fight off infection. Vitamin A can also be found in carrots, spinach, kale, and cantaloupe. Recipe: Sweet Potato and Red Onion Salad
- Brazil nuts—These nuts contain an abundance of selenium, which plays a role in maintaining a healthy immune system. Other sources of selenium include noodles, oatmeal, and walnuts. Brazil nuts, in my opinion, are best eaten by the fistful.
And if you’re also looking for a few dietary mood boosters – many of which are also on this list – check out a past post on Happy Meals. Here’s to good health – both physical and otherwise.