Stay healthy all winter long by eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals to fight the flu. As the temperature drops, illness is usually the first thing to follow. Unfortunately, if you're like most of us, you simply don’t have time for the flu. You may still be one of the lucky ones who has avoided the flu this winter season, but don’t let your luck run out now. Maybe your hands are beginning to crack from all of the washing or maybe your bottle of antibacterial is about to run out, but another way to help your body fight the flu is by choosing immune boosting foods that provide a wide variety of nutrients. Here are 7 vitamins and minerals to fight the flu and where you can find these nutrients!
1. Vitamin a
People pop many vitamins and minerals to fight the flu, but it’s even more important to ensure that you are eating the right nutrients on a daily basis! Vitamin A is one of the many vitamins and minerals known to help fight off a winter illness. Vitamin A is found in foods like apricots, asparagus, carrots, kale, mustard greens, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and tangerines.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is another antioxidant vitamin that helps boost the immune system, helping fight off a winter illness much quicker than if you were to pass up on this critical nutrient! In studies, Vitamin C has not been shown effective in actually preventing a cold; however, it has been shown to be effective in reducing the length of the illness. If you have been out in cold weather or have pushed yourself a little bit too hard at the gym, Vitamin C should be your first line of defense in fighting off a bug! Although Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, causing an upset stomach for some people. Find Vitamin C in bell peppers, kiwi, oranges, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, broccoli and other fruits and veggies!
3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another antioxidant vitamin that will help give the immune system a boost and fight off a winter bug. While their still remains no reported case of Vitamin E deficiency, ensuring that you are getting enough of this vitamin during the winter months will help your body stay strong and fight off any foreign invaders. Find Vitamin E in almonds, avocados, barley, blueberries, cherries, dark green leafy vegetables, kale, peanut butter, spinach, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, walnuts or wheat germ.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is crucial when it comes to fighting of a wintertime illness. Vitamin D helps keep your immune system strong and stimulates antimicrobial properties in your body. Get your daily dose of Vitamin D through salmon, mackerel, tuna, whole eggs, mushrooms and fortified foods like OJ and yogurt.
Many people pop zinc lozenges at the first sign of a winter bug, but it’s even more important to obtain adequate zinc through the foods you eat. Foods like oysters, crab, poultry, meat, cashews, yogurt, chickpeas, almonds and yogurt are all great sources of zinc. This mineral boosts your immune system, helping it rid harmful things from your body, reducing the amount of time you have to deal with a nasty illness.
As the cold air blows in, Selenium is a mineral that you want to be sure to pay attention to! You can find selenium in nuts (Brazil nuts), seafood and depending on the level of Selenium in the soil, some vegetables too. Selenium is also an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage and keep your immune system strong, possibly aiding in the fight against the flu.
Although water isn’t a vitamin or mineral, it does just as much for your body when it comes to fighting off the flu! The only way to rid the harmful germs from your body is by flushing them out and that’s done through liquids like water and tea. As an illness strikes, your body is having to use everything that it can to fight it off; during this time, if you are not drinking enough water, your body can become very dehydrated and lose its fighting capabilities.
Our body’s immune system is our first line of defense against bacteria, viruses and other organisms. A well-balanced diet can keep our immune system working at its most optimal level, fighting off little or big annoyances such as the flu. Include these foods in your diet throughout the day and you will be glad you did when your neighbor has the flu and you don’t!