Cold Comfort: Top 7 Foods to Promote a Healthy Immunity

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The foods you eat play a role in boosting your body’s immunity to illnesses.

Cold and flu viruses are around us all year but they seem to hit us with greater frequency in the fall and winter – when we are spending more time indoors with other people and their germs. Many adults will suffer through at least one or two colds each year, while children often endure five to eight colds annually.

To ward off colds and flu, it’s important to wash your hands often throughout the day using soap and water. You should also avoid close contact with people who are sick. And make sure you are getting plenty of rest, to keep your immune system working at full strength.

Beyond that, research shows that the foods you eat play a role in boosting your body’s immunity to illnesses. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables actually helps to support your immune system. To help keep your immune system in top shape, you should maintain a healthy diet that regularly includes a variety of fruit, vegetables, protein and whole grains, along with a daily multivitamin.

Click through for 7 foods that can help to promote a healthy immune system as well as helping you to fight off cold or flu symptoms when they do.

Citrus fruits. Drink a glass of orange juice with breakfast, add sliced oranges to your salads, include grapefruit on your snacking list, have a cup of hot lemon tea. All of these foods are high in vitamin C and may help clear blocked nasal passages and provide quick natural relief from cold symptoms.

Ginger. Fresh ginger root helps alleviate coughing by dilating constricted bronchial passages. It also reduces fever and alleviates nausea by aiding the digestive tract. Make soothing ginger tea by pouring boiling water over freshly grated ginger or take the old school approach and sip on a glass of good old ginger ale.

Garlic. This popular food contains allin which is believed to be useful to your immune system. It is best added to foods near the end of cooking, to help preserve its beneficial properties.

Honey. It coats the throat to relieve soreness and irritation. Honey is also found to block the growth of bacteria entering the body from the mouth.

Cayenne pepper and chilies. Try cooking Indian or Mexican entrees that contain these ingredients. These foods clear sinuses and ease congestion.

Tea. It is rich in antioxidant plant chemicals called polyphenols. These antioxidants enhance immune function and help fight viral infections while inhibiting the growth of bacteria. Tea also contains tannins that can aid in digestion and reduce stomach upset and diarrhea.

Water. Staying well hydrated will thin mucous secretions and help flush infections and toxins from the body.