Flu season is just around the corner, and whether you decide to get the flu shot or not, you can only benefit from making food selections that will help to boost your immune system’s capacity to protect you. One of the best protections you can offer your body is a nutritionally sound diet.
Flu season falls within the period of time that most people are spending more time indoors, in enclosed spaces with other people’s germs. It is especially important during this time to take a little extra care with the diet, choosing foods that will feed the immune system well, helping to ensure that it is better able to protect and serve the body.
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables daily is an important part of boosting the immune system. Because each fruit and vegetable has a little something different to offer, we use a wide variety in my family. We appreciate the global marketplace and the wonderful foods it makes available to us.
I serve two types of fresh fruit at every meal and, particularly during flu season, I make sure that one of those is a citrus or other high Vitamin C fruit. Vitamin C has been proven to have a positive affect on the immune system.
With the other meals, in addition to the fruit, we also have both a deep orange/yellow vegetable and a deep green vegetable, ensuring plenty of Vitamin A, C, important B vitamins — all of which help the immune system to be strong — and assorted other essential nutrients.
Deep orange/yellow vegetables that are nutritionally dense include butternut squash, yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, and acorn squash. Powerful green vegetable choices for flu season include mustard greens, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, and peas.
Flu season is a great time to enjoy all the flavor and health benefits that ethnic cuisine has to offer. The food of India is a wonderful choice for the immune system, as well as for overall health and well-being. Fresh ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, chilis, and many other of the spices commonly used in cooking are also used in Ayurvedic medicine.
Caribbean cuisine is another great choice. Strong vegetables, like plantains and their potassium, yuca, and batata (a white sweet potato that simply must be tried) combined with nutrient packed fruits, like mango, papaya, and kiwi, work together to infuse the body with nourishment.
Many people, including myself, believe that the best way to handle the flu season is to work from the inside out, being sure to feed the immune system quality foods so it is able to perform its best. Taking the time to eat well, combined with frequent hand washing, is a safe and effective way to help prevent being affected by the flu, and — in my opinion — much more reliable than a flu shot.