For college students especially, cold and flu season is no joke and around this time every year I see my friends and classmates start dropping like flies. Whether it’s the first sign of a tickle in your throat or a nose that will not stop running, it’s safe to say that getting sick is not fun for anyone.
Instead of bathing yourself in hand sanitizer available on nearly every wall around campus, try boosting your immune system with these cold and flu fighting foods. Eating while building up my immune system? Now that’s a win-win.
We all know that getting adequate sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating your fruits and veggies (blah, blah, blah) is important. However, these are a few little known secrets to keeping your immune cells strong for optimal germ fighting capabilities.
Oats and Barley
These powerful grains contain beta-glucan (a.k.a. “biological response modifiers”) that help to activate the immune system. Their antimicrobial and antioxidant properties boost immunity and a Norwegian study found it to be more potent than echinacea.
The key immune boosting ingredient in garlic is allicin, a compound that helps fight bacteria and infection in the body. Its antiviral properties may help ward off the flu and some studies suggest that it could even reduce the risk of some cancers.
Selenium helps white blood cells produce a protein called cytokine, which helps to clear flu viruses from the body. You can easily get your daily dose in selenium rich foods like Brazil nuts, mushrooms, eggs and tuna. If you wanna be extra fancy, crab and lobster are also excellent sources.
Foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha and miso soup contain powerful active cultures that help to maintain gut health. Probiotics are good bacteria that help to rid the digestion tract of disease-causing germs and boost immune system activity.