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Worried About Seasonal Colds and Flu? Try These Immune-boosting Foods

By Melissa Uhrich Concordia College Nursing Student

What can you do to prevent illnesses besides getting enough sleep, exercising and getting your flu shot? Research has shown that several foods can boost your body's immune system and protect you from seasonal cold and flu infections. 

  • Probiotics, or the "live active cultures" found in yogurt, have been found to contain healthy bacteria that have been shown to keep the stomach and intestines free of disease-causing organisms. Research recommends two 6-ounce servings per day for health benefits.
  • Studies have shown that mushrooms have immune-boosting abilities to increase the production and activity of white blood cells, which are essential in putting up a fight against infection. Dietitians recommend incorporating mushrooms into your diet in quantities of 1/4 to 1 ounce per day for optimal benefits.
  • Eating two garlic cloves per day and adding crushed garlic to your food several times per week have been shown to be one of the best things you can do during the cold and flu season. A natural chemical found in garlic known as allicin fights bacteria and viruses.
  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries, and even peppers are excellent sources of Vitamin C and antioxidants that help to support your immune system.

In addition to these key immune boosters, be sure to include barley and other whole grains, herbs and spices, tea, and plenty of water to give your body the extra fight for the flu season.


More information is available at these websites:

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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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