Natural and Delicious Ways to Boost Your Immunity During Cold and Flu Season

Tired of cringing in fear every winter when a chorus of sneezes and coughs echo all around you everywhere you go?

If you want to avoid getting sick, the best step you can take is to prevent it by boosting your immunity.

What are the typical immune-boosting tricks you use during the cold and flu months?

Making a few tweaks all season long will help to keep you from becoming part of that chorus of sneezes and coughs and give you the energy to feel healthy and strong.

It's as simple as knowing what to put on your plate.

- Peppers

Peppers are plentiful, and what's more, they don't need to be spicy for you to get all that vitamin C. Choose bell peppers to cut up and dip into hummus or use them to make fajitas. Yum!

- Citrus fruits

Craving something sweet? Serve up some citrus, and you can't go wrong. It's not just oranges and grapefruits, though. Squeeze lemons and limes into what you cook or use them to make homemade salad dressings for an extra boost. Mangos are also part of the citrus family. Try adding mangoes in as dessert this season for an extra boost and a delicious, guilt-free dessert.

- Blueberries

Blueberries have long been applauded for their superfruit status. They have a type of antioxidant known as flavonoids that can help keep your immune system strong, preventing damage to your cells. Add them to yogurt or oatmeal in the morning, toss them onto salads, or simply just snack on them when the mood strikes.

- Green tea

Switch up some of that coffee and hot cocoa for green tea this winter. It has catechin, a potent antioxidant that is good for the immune system. Want it sweeter? Add a spoonful of raw organic honey or use it as a base for your smoothies.

- Mushrooms

If you like mushrooms, you're in luck. They are full of vitamin D, something your immune system needs to stay healthy. Branch out and choose shiitake or reishi, which are revered in Asian culture for good health. Add them to your omelets, salads, use them as side dishes -- the limits are endless.

- Cruciferous veggies

One way to fill up healthfully and keep your immunity thriving is to stock up on cruciferous vegetables. They have vitamins A, C, and E plus loads of fibers. Make a cabbage soup for a hearty and healthy meal or sauté some broccoli, cauliflower, or brussels sprouts as a side dish. Kale and bok choy are also a part of this family of immunity-boosting vegetables.

Aside from what's on your plate, you can also make sure to take elderberry syrup daily as a preventative measure.

Ginger tea is also another immune-boosting trick you can add to your drink collection and sip on all winter long.

Ultimately though, the key to staying well when illnesses abound is to eat these foods that give your body the nutrients it needs to fight off any intruding germs and keep you healthy!

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Alicia Williamson RN, BSN, MSNW, CHC

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