Chicken Soup is a well known cure for the common cold. And there is some science behind it. But there are many other everyday foods that will help you keep your guard up during the coming cold and flu season. Let’s have a look.
The mineral selenium is a powerful anti-oxidant that boosts immunity by building up white blood cells. Studies have shown that selenium deficiency leads to more severe flu symptoms and even allows certain milder flus to mutate into more virulent strains. Foods that are high in selenium include: sardines, halibut, cod, salmon, turkey, brazil nuts and button mushrooms.
Foods that contain probiotics, beneficial micro-organisms have been shown to keep your immune system strong. Probiotics are mostly found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and pickles.
Preliminary studies have shown that foods rich in beta-glucan help boost the immune system. Beta-wha?! Beta-glucan is a specific polysaccharide. Poly-wha?! Basically, polysaccharides are large molecules comprised of many sugar molecules. Beta-glucan is found most prominently in oats, barley and yeast.
Foods rich in Vitamin A. Our skin is an often overlooked aspect of our immune system but it is the first line of defense against bacteria and viruses. Vitamin A plays a critical role in the production of connective tissue, an important component of skin. Foods high in beta-carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, are great immunity boosters. These include: sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and spinach.
In addition to adding these foods to your daily diet, make sure that you consume large quantities of vegetables, drink at least eight eight ounce glasses of water and get adequate sleep. Come to think of it, these foods and tips are not just for cold and flu season but are applicable the entire year.