If you are like most people, as soon as the fall season arrives, it’s time to get your annual flu shot. This is definitely recommended; however, can you also choose certain foods to help fight off influenza? What you eat can help lower your chances of catching that nasty bug.
Here are some foods and drinks to fill up on:
- Green tea: Green tea is packed with antioxidants. Sip it hot or cold throughout the day to help keep illness away.
- Sweet potatoes: This bright-orange food is packed with Vitamin A to help keep at bay the free radicals that can threaten to weaken your immune system. Pop a sweet potato in the microwave for 7 minutes for a quick and easy addition to lunch or dinner.
- Yogurt: Yogurt naturally contains probiotics that help to keep your immune system healthy and strong. It’s such an easy and filling snack to grab or use as a substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream in any of your high-fat recipes. (See some tasty Greek yogurt recipes here.)
- Tuna: Tuna is an excellent source of selenium and Vitamin D, which helps protect cells from free radicals and improve your immune system. Try mixing a pouch of tuna with some plain Greek yogurt and place it atop a bed of leafy greens.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are rich in selenium. It has been found that low levels of selenium in your body increases your chance of getting the flu. Chop them up and add them to a pasta dish, salad, or soup.
- Peanuts: This tasty snack is full of zinc, which helps keep your immune system working properly. A handful is the perfect amount to grab for an afternoon snack or to throw in a stir-fry at dinner.
- Water: This essential nutrient keeps the body running efficiently. Getting fluid in various forms such as tea, 100% juice, coffee (preferably decaffeinated), and water-filled foods such as fruits and vegetables all counts toward filling your hydration needs.
With most things, a balanced diet is the key. A diet high in a variety of produce, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, along with moderate exercise, adequate sleep, and minimal stress, contributes the most to well-functioning immunity and faster healing if the flu does strike. Incorporate the above foods but continue to work on overall balance to your life.
This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.