Now that the holidays are over it’s a good idea to start focusing on your health. Many people’s immune systems are neglected during the holiday season, even though the best ways to fight and prevent the cold and flu can easily be found in your very own kitchen. These superfoods are a great way to give your immune system a boost as they are rich in nutrients and packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory qualities. Below are a few of my favorite superfoods that keep me healthy and enable me to have a strong immune system all-year-round.
1. Yogurt & Kefir
Yogurt is full of friendly bacteria called probiotics that fend off bad bacteria and viruses. According to a study done by a Professor from Teikyo University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences the probiotics in yogurt boost immunity by increasing your body’s white blood cells. Yogurt also promotes healthy digestion thus aiding in the elimination of toxins.
Kefir is similar to yogurt where it contains probiotics in addition to beneficial yeast. It has a sour taste and the probiotics in kefir have the ability to multiply in the intestinal tract. Kefir like yogurt wards off the cold and flu virus and enhances your immune system. Kefir is easily digested and has antibiotic properties. By having a daily serving of yogurt or kefir you are helping your body stay strong and healthy.
The best way to obtain the many healing qualities of garlic is to eat it fresh and finely chopped and within the hour of crushing it. By chopping or crushing garlic you are activating the healing benefits of allicin, the active component in garlic that makes it anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. Eating garlic has proven effective against urinary tract infections, upper respiratory infections, cold sores, and ear infections. It is a natural antibiotic and a very strong immune booster. Even though garlic is an antibiotic it doesn’t kill the body’s natural flora unlike traditional antibiotics2.
Turmeric is a commonly-used spice that is yellow-orange in color and comes from the plant of the same name. It has been used for hundreds of years in traditional Chinese medicine. Turmeric is packed with flavor so it adds a zesty taste to food and is typically found in curry. Its vibrant color comes from the curcumin it contains. Curcumin is a polyphenol, which is great at fighting the cold and flu. It is high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Blueberries are one of the highest ranked fruits tested for antioxidant activity1. Blueberries are high in Vitamin C and potassium and chock full of phytonutrients, which gives them their disease fighting abilities. They are anti-inflammatory and may lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. According to cancer specialist Gary D. Stoner at Ohio State University, the high levels of anthocyanins that give berries their red, blue and black colors-have been linked to slowing the aging process, protecting the heart, and preventing mental decline.
5. Raw Honey
Raw honey has anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-viral properties. It’s great for sore throats, coughs, insomnia, digestion, allergies, and even toothaches. Not only is honey great for your immunity, it’s also an energy booster. Many athletes use honey for a better performance. To promote a healthy lifestyle, eat your raw honey!
Image: Quinn Dombrowski
References1Mateljan, G. The World’s Healthiest Foods.