[Guest Blog Post from Karen of Nourish With Karen.]
Nutrition to Beat the Flu
We are in the middle of the flu season: fever, aches, chills, cough, runny nose, sore throat – you wouldn’t wish them on your worst enemy. It is nice to know there are certain foods that help us to ward off not only the flu, but other illnesses as well. Here are my recommendations to help you stay healthy:
- Increase your vitamin D levels. There are few foods that naturally contain vitamin D: wild salmon, tuna, shitake mushrooms and egg yolks are among them. Consider taking a vitamin D supplement, during the winter as it is difficult to get enough sunshine to synthesize vitamin D. If you have low levels your immunity may be compromised.
- Enjoy foods high in vitamin C. Our bodies do not produce or store vitamin C, so we need to be constantly replenishing it. We think of citrus fruit right off the top, but red and yellow peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, kiwi and dark leafy greens like kale, all contain more vitamin C per serving than an orange.
- Up your beta-carotene consumption, this vitamin A precursor promotes production of white blood cells and is found in orange vegetables such as sweet potato, pumpkin, and carrot as well as kale.
- Add fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, miso and olives to your diet. These foods are high in probiotic, friendly bacteria which have a powerful effect on your immune system.
- For a triple hit, sip green tea with a couple of thin slices of ginger and a teaspoon of honey. Anti-oxidants in green tea boost immunity, while ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and honey is anti-bacterial. What more can you ask?
- Bring on the berries - a powerful source of antioxidants, they are potent immune boosters. Add blueberries or raspberries to your oatmeal, smoothie or baking.
- Garlic does more than ward off vampires, it stimulates the production of white blood cells and antibodies. It is antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial to boot. Easily added to soups and stews, it is also a great flavor addition.
Including these nutrients in your diet and getting enough sleep will help boost your immunity and hopefully keep the flu, cold and other illnesses at bay!
Bio: Karen is a certified nutritionist, freelance writer, blogger, mother of two, happy wife and foodie. She has always been passionate about food and its role as a building block in our health and wellness. There are few things Karen finds more inspiring than a farmers market on a Saturday morning! She loves a good read, hiking with her dog (okay, husband too), spending time with family and friends, and travel.
Make sure to check out her blog, Nourish With Karen, and follow her on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.