Winter is here, which tends to mean MORE sniffles and colds. While we know the BEST way to prevent spreading germs is to wash hands, there are other factors that play a role in helping to boost our immune systems, like diet. Yup, what you eat can help keep the sniffles at bay this winter.
Last week, I had the opportunity to chat with WFMY News 2 in Greensboro, NC about boosting our immune systems on behalf of my client, National Fisheries Institute. Here are five foods that do just that:
- YOGURT — Yogurt contains live active cultures, particularly lactobacillus, which help boost the good bacteria in our gut. Research suggests that beneficial bacteria can help strengthen our immune systems.
How to get more yogurt in your diet? Layer with fruit in a parfait or blend with fruit for a morning smoothie.
My FAVORITE way to sneak in more yogurt? Replacing sour cream and mayonnaise in recipes with nonfat Greek yogurt.
- SEAFOOD — While seafood may not typically be a food that comes to mind as an immune booster, fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help to reduce inflammation in the body. Plus, fatty fish are one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, which we know most Americans get too little of during the winter months.
How to get more seafood in your diet? Add a pouch or can of tuna or salmon to your stir-fry, soups, casseroles or sauces.
My FAVORITE way to sneak in more seafood? Adding pouch tuna, olives and capers to a jarred marinara sauce over whole wheat pasta.
- WHEAT GERM — This tiny, nutty-tasting wheat kernel is rich in antioxidants like vitamin E, magnesium, B vitamins and zinc, which is especially important for helping our bodies fight viruses.
How to get more wheat germ in your diet? Sprinkle on top of yogurt, in smoothies, on cereal or in oatmeal.
My FAVORITE way to sneak in more wheat germ? Adding to whole grain baked goods, like muffins, scones and breads.
- CAULIFLOWER — All vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals important for a strong immune system, but cauliflower contains the antioxidant glutathione, which helps fight infection. Plus, cauliflower (like all veggies) is low in calories and rich in potassium, which helps counter the effects of high-sodium foods we tend to eat a lot of during the holiday season.
How to get more cauliflower in your diet? Steam and mash as a replacement to mashed potatoes at the holiday table.
My FAVORITE way to sneak in more cauliflower? Slice florets, sprinkle with olive oil and salt, roast until slightly browned. Yum!
- GRAPEFRUIT — We know the drill about vitamin C and colds, but grapefruit is an especially smart choice because it’s also rich in bioflavonoids, or immune-boosting phytonutrients.
How to get more grapefruit in your diet? Add to salads, with oranges and yogurt or just enjoy as is!
My FAVORITE way to sneak in more grapefruit? Slice in half, sprinkle with a little brown sugar and broil for dessert.
Look out for some easy recipes for these nutrient powerhouse immune boosters in my next post.
PLEASE SHARE: What are your favorite winter-time immune-boosting foods? Please share. I’d love to hear from you!
Disclaimer: I am a nutrition consultant to the nonprofit organization National Fisheries Institute, however I was not compensated for this blog post. All opinions and reviews on this website are my own and 100% honest. No form of sponsorship, relationship or incentive will influence my content.