Thursday, December 1, 2011

Prevent Cold and Flu with a Healthy Diet

sneeze.jpgAs many of us approach the cold months of the year, flu season begins to peak. I fair pretty well most years and seem to avoid a lot of sick days. It got me wondering if diet has anything to do with staying cold-free.

Well, I did my research, and there is some evidence that a few key nutrients can ward off the common cold and the flu.

Sunflower Seeds: Are an excellent source of vitamin E--one of the highest natural sources! Natural vitamin E found in foods is a powerful antioxidant and immune booster. Most nuts and seeds are also a good source of selenium and zinc which can help the body detoxify.Garlic: Contains a phytochemical, called allicin, which can kill bacteria and viruses, and is thought to improve the immune system. Spinach: Any leafy green vegetable contains abundant nutrients. But, spinach is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals that can help ward off disease. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, and zinc (just to name a few). Mushrooms: Another good source of selenium and zinc. In addition, mushrooms were used as one of the world's first antibiotics. There is even a mushroom called the maitake mushroom that is used in cancer prevention and treatment. There is a long history of use of mushrooms for illness prevention.Yogurt: We all know now that yogurt contains probiotics which can improve the healthy bacteria in the intestines. Healthy intestinal bacteria are a key for proper immune health. Look for yogurts that contain vitamin D, and you will get an additional health boost.Citrus Fruits: One piece of citrus fruit can contain over 100% of your daily value for vitamin C. Peppers are also a great source. Vitamin C has long been studied for its properties in curing a variety of illnesses. Tea with Lemon and Honey: Tea is detoxifying. Lemon is a natural antibacterial. Honey is a combination of an antioxidant and antibacterial. All three combined make a nutritious and almost medicinal drink!Water: Helps to flush out toxins, and maintain hydration. Proper hydration is key to keeping the metabolism strong and healthy.Of course, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. This is the first step in preventing the flu. But, aside from proper hygiene, I will be eating healthy this cold and flu season just in case any of these nutritious foods can help keep me disease-free.

What about you, do you feel like certain foods can prevent the cold and flu?

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