The winter and cold weather is harsh, but you can nip any illness in the bud if you’re eating the right things. Nothing can stop it. The cold weather is slowly rolling in, and with that comes the potential to get sick quite easily. Immune system booster foods will be your secret weapon in keeping you as healthy as possible once the cold season hits.
Why We Need Immune System Booster Foods During Cold Season
The big issue during the winter is that we are stuck indoors for a majority of the time. When you combine this with how the cold weather makes the mucous membranes run, it’s easy for sickness to be passed on. People touching door handles and other objects make for a fast delivery system of germs and bacteria.
You also are cooped up with everyone’s coughs and breathing being shared in confined spaces. It’s a pretty tough time of year to navigate. There are certain critical things you can do, such as staying on top of keeping your hands clean.
Using sanitizers after you’re out in public is a good way to kill off as many germs as possible. Washing your hands is also paramount during the cold season.
If you workout in a gym, the best exercise tip I could give you is to wash your hands at the end of a workout. You will touch all the same equipment, machines, and weights as people who are potentially sick.
This is such an important thing as an illness will derail your health and training, forcing you to take a few steps backward. As important as cleanliness is, it’s your immune system that will help determine your ability to fight off sickness.
With this in mind, what are some of the best immune system booster foods you can eat to ward off as much illness as possible (and hopefully avoid it altogether)?
Here are 8 foods you can eat that provide an immune system booster during the cold season.
1. Citrus Fruits
Most people’s go-to when they get sick is to turn to vitamin C in the form of an orange. This is still a good approach, as vitamin C helps to boost your production of white blood cells. This helps improve your immune system and fights off illness and infection. Besides oranges, you want to turn to:
The possibility of bad breath from garlic is a good tradeoff with this immune system booster food. Garlic is full of allicin, which is a sulfur-containing compound. The allicin is what gives garlic its immune system boosting capabilities.
Garlic is also great to help lower your blood pressure. You can take garlic supplements, including ones that are odorless, but it’s easy to include in daily cooking. Not only does it improve the flavor of dishes, but it will also help you during the cold season.
It is a great food to turn to year-round, but especially during the cold season. Ginger is not only a great immune system booster, but it’s a food that elevates drinks and dishes. It can help lower inflammation and is great to add to teas. It helps fight off nausea and boost your immunity.
Ginger is technically capsaicin which may explain why it has a pepper-like heat to it. This heat comes from the gingerol contained in it, which also helps in strengthening your immune system.
These little berries are a powerhouse antioxidant. They are full of flavonoids, specifically one called anthocyanin. This is the main compound in blueberries that give them their immune-boosting ability. Blueberries make a great snack anytime, are high in fiber, and also a lower-sugar choice when it comes to fruit.
Broccoli might not be your favorite choice, but it’s an immune system booster food you should learn to like. It’s full of a ton of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. It’s like taking a green multivitamin and is an important part of keeping yourself nourished and your immune system strong.
6. Dark Chocolate
It might surprise you to see this on the list, but it’s important to specify that we’re talking about dark chocolate and not candy chocolate here. Dark chocolate – with at least 70% cacao solids – is another antioxidant powerhouse. In this case, the main antioxidant it contains is theobromine.
This protects the body from free radical damage while boosting the immune system. You need to watch out because dark chocolate is high in calories, but a few squares a day can help ward off colds – and satisfy your sweet tooth.
The ‘ol Popeye classic is still a valuable food to eat as an immune system booster. Like broccoli, spinach is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also full of carotenoids, vitamin C, and Vitamin E. Both vitamins C and E are notable immune system strengtheners.
8. Green Tea
You may think of oranges and citrus fruit as the main choices to get vitamin C. Green tea, however, is right at the top of the list too. It also contains EGCG, which is a specific type of flavonoid and antioxidant that enhances immune function.
Add to this the amino acid L-theanine which may help in producing germ-fighting compounds in your body. Green tea may be one of the healthiest things you can drink, and if you add in some ginger and cinnamon – it takes it to the next level.
With so many immune system booster foods out there, staying healthy can be easy and delicious. The secret is to be proactive with your health and consume these things regularly instead of after an illness may hit. So even if a cold does hit, your stronger immune system will help you fight it off as quickly as possible.