It’s that time of year again! No I’m not talking about the Holidays, but instead, the season of cold and flu! Yes, that lovely time of year where inevitably, most of us get sick. As the weather gets colder, our immune systems can take a hit.
So, what are some ways we can help our immune systems stay strong? The foods we eat are one of the biggest tools we have to boosting our immune system function and keeping those pesky bugs away during any season.
Emphasize Whole, Unprocessed Foods
If we want to reduce the likelihood of catching a cold it is really important that we eat healthy. This means eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean meats and good fats while reducing or eliminating processed foods. When you eat this way, you are eating a wide variety of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that will help you fight viruses and bacteria.
Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar can actually hinder immune cells from attacking pathogens. That means that they are less effective at killing off germs and bacteria. If you feel like you are about to get sick or are already sick, try and reduce your intake of sugar, especially sugary drinks.
Increase Intake of Immune-Boosting Foods
- Garlic: One of the best natural antibiotics out there, especially potent against fungal infections. Garlic is also antiviral and antifungal due to its active ingredient allicin. It has the ability to kill viruses in the body and boost the body’s ability to kill pathogens by stimulating white blood cells into action.
Raw Honey: This amazing nectar has a wide range of health benefits. Raw honey is antibacterial, antifungal and high in antioxidants. These three powerful benefits help fight off the bacteria, reduce damage to cells, and kick that cold to the curb.
- If you feel a sore throat coming on grab a spoonful of raw honey to eat. The raw honey will coat the throat and relieve symptoms. If you are looking to reduce a cough, pineapple juice can work wonders at relieving symptoms.
- Lemon: Can help stop the growth of pathogenic bacteria that can lead to infections in the body. It can also help reduce mucous production aiding coughs and sore throats. Finally, it is known to be high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been studied for its abilities to help boost the immune system.
- Ginger: Ginger is antimicrobial, which means it kills bacteria. It is also useful for upset stomachs, vomiting, dizziness, nausea and cold sweats. So, If you’re feeling chilly because of your cold, then look no further. Ginger boosts your body’s temperature helping you feel warmer. Make a ginger tea with squeezed lemon, raw honey and fresh ginger and you’ll be feeling better in no time.
- Greens: Greens are high in antioxidants which protect our bodies from oxidative stress that can lead to a weaker immune system. They also provide the body with a wide range of vitamins and minerals. In fact, dark leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, contain some of the highest levels of vitamin C.
Finally, always remember to drink lots of water and rest, rest, rest! Sometimes getting sick is just our body’s way of saying ‘slow down’, relax and de-stress.