It’s that time of year again, where sniffles and coughs reign supreme. The average child catches roughly six to twelve colds a year while the average adult can catch one to three, which can make for a miserable winter season.
Though there are medicines to help combat the symptoms of your cold, the best way to defend against a cold is to never get one at all.
Thankfully, there are foods that you can eat to help boost your immune system and fight against cold-inducing pathogens.
These superfoods not only protect you against colds, but also boost your overall health and well-being. Boost your immune system by eating the following five foods, and say so long to the dreaded cold season!
Immune Boosting Superfoods
1. Goji Berries
We all know by now the power of berries and their antioxidant levels, but goji berries go above and beyond in terms of aiding the immune system.
Goji berries contain polysaccharides, which research has shown aid the body’s ability to fight diseases. Polysaccharides do this by providing the immune cells with special sugars that enable them to communicate more effectively.
When the immune cells communicate more effectively, they are able to fight pathogens and diseases better.
Goji berries are also rich in vitamin C and zinc, both of which are known to protect the immune system and aid in recovery.
In fact, research has proven that zinc can shorten the length as well as the severity of a cold. As for vitamin C content, goji berries contain more vitamin C by weight than any other food on Earth.
Get your daily dose of goji berries by adding them to your morning cereal or oatmeal. Goji berries can also be blended into smoothies or added to tea.
You may also consider eating them by the handful!
2. Leafy Greens
While it is common to associate vitamin C with citrus fruits, dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and Swiss chard are also excellent sources of the immune-boosting vitamin.
Research has shown that consistent consumption of vitamin C can lead to a shorter time period of illness, if you end up getting sick at all.
Just remember, the darker the green color the more vitamins the vegetable has, so greens such as iceberg and romaine won’t supply you with as much vitamin C as spinach or kale will.
Salads aren’t too appealing in colder weather, so instead of eating your greens raw try sautéing them in garlic and oil.
This will also shrink down the greens, which means you will be able to eat more without even realizing it! If eating leafy greens isn’t your thing, try adding the raw greens to a juice or smoothie.
Turmeric is a rich yellow powder that is often used in dishes such as curry. It is considered to be one of the highest sources of antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatories.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, an anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-cancer compound.
Though a helpful ingredient to any immune-boosting diet, turmeric does far more than just help you fight the common cold.
Turmeric aids in detoxification, healthier cells and reduction of pain, provides anti-inflammatory help and even protects against cancer cells.
Sip on turmeric tea or add turmeric spice to foods and meals to achieve this superfood’s benefits.
4. Coconut Oil
This wonder food knows no bounds. Used for everything from fighting acne to weight loss, coconut oil has many unique health-boosting benefits.
The two ingredients that make coconut oil so helpful to immune health are lauric acid and caprylic acid.
Coconut oil is comprised of nearly 50 percent lauric acid, which the body converts to monolaurin, an anti-viral compound that fights off pathogens and viruses.
Both lauric acid and caprylic acid are anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, which makes them terrific agents to protect your immune system.
To get the immune boosting properties of coconut oil, simply add one teaspoon of coconut oil to your diet daily.
This can be done by blending the oil into your coffee or smoothie, using it to cook with or stirring it into oatmeal.
Garlic is more than just a common kitchen staple. In fact, did you know that garlic was used during both world wars to combat gangrene?
It’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties have been praised for years.
One clove of garlic contains 5 milligrams of calcium, 12 milligrams of potassium and more than 100 sulfuric compounds.
It is these compounds that make garlic so vital to immune health. Garlic contains large amounts of allstatin, allicin, garlicin and ajoine, which are known to be some of the strongest anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral compounds.
These compounds work together to help garlic stimulate the activity of immune system cells. When these cells are activated they destroy cold and flu viruses and pathogens.
As with most foods, fresh garlic is the best to give your immune system the boost it needs.
Add fresh chopped garlic to your meals and side dishes or sprinkle it on top of freshly roasted vegetables!
Never Get Sick Again
A body that is supplied with the proper nutrients it needs to run properly and protect itself will have less of a chance to succumb to those nasty, winter colds.
Give your body a fighting chance by boosting your immune system before the cold virus gets to you.
Including these five superfoods into your diet will keep your immune system running at top speed, fighting off pathogens and diseases while keeping you feeling your best!