Cold season is still here, and many of you may be looking for a better way to fight off this pest than just popping some vitamins every day. Well, here’s a list of the top eight foods to keep those nasty cold bugs away — and we’re not talking about just the usual bowl of chicken noodle soup!
1) Carotenoid-rich foods: Carotenoids are potent antioxidants that could strengthen your immune system to fight off cold viruses or cut short the life of a cold and make it less severe. Some carotenoid-rich fruits and veggies include spinach, kale, red bell peppers, carrots, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes. Your body can’t get enough of these healthy dynamos!
2) Vitamin C: This well-known vitamin can boost your immune system, giving it the power to keep viruses at bay. Bring more natural sources of vitamin C into your life such as oranges, papaya, red peppers, strawberries, and green leafy vegetables.
3) Zinc: Similar to vitamin C, zinc supports immune function. So, whether you’re looking for prevention or treatment, consider these sources of the nutrient: oysters, crab, turkey, beans, and green peas.
4) Garlic: This herb might just be one of the most amazing accomplishments of nature. Among its long list of health benefits is that it can enhance immune system function. Basically, it increases the activity of white blood cells and helper T cells. If you’re not a garlic lover, you should at least try to slip it into your meals from time to time. Try it in your soup, salad dressing, or use it with any type of meat or vegetable dish. If you feel like you might be coming down with a cold, try chopping up a clove or two and eating it raw. Although this is not for the faint of heart, it could be the best way to get the most out of garlic.
5) Dried fruit: As I mentioned above, antioxidants support healthy immune function, which you need in order to stay free of colds. Fruit, especially berries, are amazing antioxidant sources. Moreover, you can easily pop them into your purse or pocket for a snack on the go. Blueberries are especially potent — sprinkle some dried forms of this fruit over your granola in the morning for a great start to your day.
6) Yogurt: The “good” bacteria in some active yogurt cultures can help prevent colds. They are supposed to increase your body’s production of antibodies and natural killer cells. In fact, eating a cup of low-fat yogurt a day can make you 25% less likely to come down with a cold.
7) Tea: Even if a cold has overcome your defenses, you still have some options to help you feel better. Tea is something that can soothe you; however, black tea may be doing you more harm than good when you’re ill. Herbal enthusiasts suggest chamomile tea, as it can ease some of your aches and help you sleep better. If you’ve got a sore throat and/or cough, then licorice tea might be the ticket. You can also gargle with sage tea to assuage a sore throat.
8) Spicy foods: If you like your food to have a kick, you’ll love this cold buster! Certain peppers can clear up your congestion so try adding chili peppers, cayenne, or jalapeno peppers to your menu if you’re all stuffed up. Capsaicin, the main ingredient in these hot foods, also contains antioxidants and is believed to kill bacteria.