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The Best Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System This Season

The Best Foods to Help Boost Your Immune System This Season

‘Tis the season for respiratory viruses, when a combination of cold weather and close gatherings increase the risk of illness transmission. One of the best things you can do to stay healthy (and even protect your family) is to boost your immune system this winter with healthy foods. Just a few smart choices in your winter recipes can help you stock up on the nutrients your body needs to fight off illness before you get the snuffles, and shared family meals can provide the same benefit to everyone in your household.

At Merritt Clubs, we know that staying healthy during this season is all about keeping your body as fit and well-supplied as possible. To help out, we’ve put together a list of the best foods to boost your immune system and why they work.

Citrus Fruits: The Ultimate Immune Boost

Everyone knows that citrus is good for your immune system because of the high quantity of Vitamin C. It’s in every immune-boosting product, and you can find Vitamin C in every type of citrus fruit. Oranges, clementines, and tangerines are the most common, but you can get some serious immune boosting from other types of citrus like grapefruit, lemons, and limes as well.

Why does it work? Vitamin C is a precursor to the production of more white blood cells, which are your body’s fighting force against invading illness like the flu virus.

Chicken Soup: More Than Comfort Food

Chicken soup isn’t just a comfort food when it’s cold. Chicken actually has immune-boosting properties. Poultry including chicken and turkey are high in Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 contributes to the formation of healthy red blood cells, which deliver nutrients to your entire body. 3 ounces of chicken is one-third of your daily recommended amount. You can enjoy your chicken roasted, barbecued, or made into soup. You can even boil the bones into gelatin or bone broth which provides even more illness-fighting immunity.

Broccoli & Leafy Greens: Packed with Vitamins

Broccoli is one of the most universally enjoyed vegetables in the grocery store, seen in many recipes as a veggie filler that is surprisingly good for you. Broccoli is chock full of vitamins A, C, and E. They carry antioxidants and are a good source of fiber for gut-health as well. Dark leafy greens like Spinach and Kale are also healthy, containing high quantities of Vitamin C.

Garlic & Ginger: Ancient Illness Remedies

Sometimes, folk remedies for illness and strong immune systems are absolutely right. Garlic and ginger both have “magical” properties when it comes to boosting your overall health. Garlic has been found to help fight infections, slow hardening arteries, and reduce blood pressure. It contains sulfur compounds like allicin that are known to improve your immune system. Ginger reduces inflammation and nausea, and includes ginger ale, which is a relative of capsaicin.

Yogurt: Fight the Flu with Live Cultures

Your stomach is an ecosystem and yogurt provides positive reinforcements to maintain a healthy balance. The probiotics in yogurt with live cultures fight off illness from bad bacteria or candida in your digestive system. As a fermented dairy product, it is also rich in Vitamin D which helps to regulate your immune system and increase your body’s natural ability to resist disease.

Turmeric: Time for Health-Boosting Curry

If you love curry, you’re in luck. Turmeric is the primary spice in curry and a large number of other foods from the South Asian subcontinent where India is located. Turmeric is that brilliant yellow/orange spice that adds excellent depth of flavor to any dish. It has proven anti-inflammatory benefits and can boost your immune system, though the reasoning for immune system benefits is not fully understood.

Nuts and Seeds: Pack In the Micronutrients

Almonds, sunflower seeds, and other crunchy natural snacks are jam-packed with micronutrients including both vitamins and minerals. Nuts and seeds are made that way because they include everything a baby plant would need to get started. They are also very healthy for humans and can stock up your supply of micronutrients – and healthy fats – to fight off disease during the flu season.

Fish and Shellfish: Immunity from the Ocean (and Freshwater)

You may also be familiar with the benefits of seafood (including shellfish and freshwater fish) to a healthy diet. Shellfish contain high levels of zinc, which is otherwise hard to come by. Just the right amount of zinc supports a healthy immune system, but too much can have the opposite effect. Fatty fish, including salmon, mackerel, herring, albacore tuna, sardines, and trout are also good for you with plenty of Omega-3 fats that are anti-inflammatory and good for the body.

Green Tea: Healthy and Cozy All Winter

Everyone loves a mug of tea in the winter. Make it green tea and your immune system will thank you. Green tea has antioxidants, including flavonoids and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which help to cleanse the body, fight viruses (like the flu) and support your immune system. Make sure it’s green tea, because black tea has lost it’s EGCG bonus.

Exercise, Nutrition, and a Strong Immune System at Merritt Clubs

At Merritt Clubs, we want to help you stay healthy all winter long. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, keeping physically active will provide your body with the energy needed to fight diseases. Keep the flu at bay with strong heart, respiratory, and muscle action. The more you get pumped in the winter, the more energized you will be to stay healthy and resist viruses even when you come in contact.

You can take care of your daily, weekly, and monthly workout needs at any Merritt Club near your home. Contact us today to discover the best location, membership, or fitness program for you and your family to stay healthy this flu season.