Monday, January 9, 2012

Eat...a few foods to help ward off cold and flu season

I have a toddler, a husband, a full time job and a writing habit, which essentially means that I don't rest nearly enough and my immune system runs at half mast. As a result, I entertain more than my fair share of germs. Hmmm...maybe that is not the ideal introduction to convince you that I can help you strengthen your own immune system but what the heck, honesty at all costs!

Since most of us don't live perfectly restful lives, we can use all the help we can get. So below are a few foods to help you stimulate your immune system. Eat them regularly and, hey, try and relax once in a while! You look tired. 

Foods that Boost your Immune System

Wild mushrooms are the king of immune boosting foods. Polysaccharides in mushrooms help make white blood cells more active and mushrooms also contain a vitamin D precursor - a known immune booster. Eat shiitakes instead of your basic button and sauté them for a lovely pasta or pizza topper, stir-fry or bake into a casserole.

Long considered a medicinal food, anti-cancer garlic has been shown to fight infection. Allicin, a sulfur-containing compound that is created when the cell walls of garlic cloves are broken via mincing or crushing, is thought responsible for part of this benefit. Eat as much garlic as you can and don't cook the heck out of it (if you can handle it, try some raw!): keep heat low or add gently sautéed garlic at the end of cooking.

This fermented milk is akin to a yogurt drink with a kick: in addition to probiotic bacteria, kefir is fermented with yeasts. The resulting kefiran molecules have immune-boosting properties and the probiotics (more than your average yogurt) encourage a healthy digestive flora which is important for maintaining a healthy digestive tract and strong immune system. Drink 1/4 - 1/2 cup daily.

These are some of my favourites...what are yours?

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