As outdoor temperatures become cooler, your diet is one of your greatest defenses against colds and other common winter illnesses. To strengthen your body’s natural defenses, consume these nutrient-dense foods with healing and immune-boosting qualities.
A daily dose of yogurt can significantly strengthen immunity. The probiotics in yogurt help nourish and restore the naturally occurring bacteria in the intestinal tract, thereby pumping up immunity.
Use It: Choose varieties free of excess sugar and top with fresh fruit, cinnamon, oats and honey. Use as the base for parfaits, chia pudding, salad dressings and marinades, or as a replacement for mayo or sour cream.
Chicken soup is more than just a comforting, feel-good food when you’re sick. It contains beneficial compounds that may decrease the duration and intensity of illnesses by easing inflammation. Many believe that chicken soup’s nutrients, aromas, spices and heat are more effective than hot water at reducing congestion and relieving cold symptoms.
Use It: Increase the nutritional value of chicken noodle soup by adding mushrooms, carrots, chickpeas, kale, spinach, turmeric or ginger.
Filled with antioxidant-rich selenium, B vitamins, riboflavin and niacin, mushrooms may help combat cell damage and chronic diseases while strengthening the immune system.
Use It: Add to omelets, soups, stir-fries or salads; stuff with crab, spinach and cheese; or use as the base for mushroom meatballs. Find more creative ways to enjoy mushrooms
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Ginger has been used in herbal medicine to help treat or reduce symptoms of many ailments due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Use It: Prominent in Indian and Asian cuisines, ginger blends well with cinnamon and nutmeg for baking applications. Add to sauces, glazes, marinades and dressings, or infuse hot tea with ginger and honey.
Refreshingly juicy citrus fruits like navel oranges and mandarins are known for their high levels of vitamin C, an essential nutrient for supporting the immune system. They also offer many other vital nutrients like potassium, which may promote healthy blood pressure levels.
Use It: Add zest and juice to marinades, homemade vinaigrettes or cooked vegetables; segment and toss into a salad; or chop for a citrus salsa.