April 2, 2014

5 Immunity Boosting Foods to Rev Up Your Immune System and Fight Off The Common Cold

Do you want to give your runny nose the cold shoulder? I know I do and the best protection against the common cold can be found at the grocery store or your local farmers market. Ensure your body and immune system run smoothly by rounding out your plate with plenty of fruits and veggies and at least 8 glasses of water. For an extra boost of immunity try these flu-fighting foods to provide your body with the right nutrients so it will be able to protect you when you need it most. 

1: Oatmeal
Beta-glucan is a fiber found in foods like yeast, oats, barley, and mushrooms. Immune cells have special receptors designed to grab onto Beta-glucan, kicking up the activity of white blood cells that eat up bacteria and viruses. 
Try it:
Cooked and cooled in your yogurt. Make risotto, add 1/4 cup steel oats and 1 cup chicken broth to a pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in 1/3 cup frozen then thawed peas and top with shaved parmesan. 

2: Butternut Squash
One cup equals 60% of your daily dose of vitamin A. Your body needs vitamin A to help boost your guts goblet cells which help your body digest and absorb nutrients. When not properly working nutrients can't get where they need to go. 
Try it:
Fold into whole wheat Mac and cheese or drizzle with olive oil and honey then roast till tender. Serve over kale or lentils with honey mustard. 

3: Yogurt
Contains probiotics which are live active cultures found in yogurt. They are healthy bacteria that help keep the gut and intestinal track free of disease causing germs. An 80 day Swedish study of 181 factory workers showed that those who drank a daily supplement of lactobacillus reuteri, a specific probiotic that appears to stimulate white blood cells took 33% fewer sick days than those given a placebo. 
Try it:
Eat 2 6 ounce servings a day topped with your favorite fruits or alone. 

4: Shrimp
Rich in selenium which ups your body's production of cytokines which are proteins that tell your immune system to work harder. 10 shrimp are 62% of a daily dose of selenium. 
Try it:
Defrost 10 and toss with arugula, oranges, and avocado for a salad. Cook 1/4 a cup of brown rice add 1/4 tsp curry powder, stir in 1/4 cup cooked peas, 2 sliced scallions and 10 shrimp. 

5: Chicken Soup
It's not just for the soul. In a university of Nebraska study researchers tested 13 brands of the soup and all but one (chicken flavored ramen) blocked the migration of inflammatory white cells. Cold symptoms are a response to the cells accumulation in the bronchial tubes. The amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcystaine which may explain the results. The soups salty broth keeps mucus thin the way cough medicines do. 
Try it:
With a whole what grilled cheese or by itself with some soup crackers. 

Remember that when you eat you are feeding your cells as well as your stomach. If those cells don't get nourished with the vitamins and minerals they need your body can start to malfunction. So incorporate some of the above mentioned foods and you'll not only evade the dreaded circulating office cold but you will improve your overall health and longevity in the process. 

Work cited:
Prevention Magazine
Web MD

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