Cold and Flu Prevention
Further to my article that I wrote back in 2016 for The Holistic Parent, Managing Cold and Flu Season, Naturally, I have some additional tips on specific foods that help keep the whole family’s immune system strong, especially during the cold and flu season.
Beneficial bacteria are super important, it is estimated that humans are 30x more organism than human DNA. So for this reason it is important to eat fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut. All of these foods contain bacteria that may help keep the immune system healthy. Dilute a few teaspoons of kombucha in water for young children and adults new to this incredible beverage.
Bold in colour, humble in size, these little fruits are also immune-boosting superfoods. The flavonoids that blueberries contain—a type of antioxidant that can reduces damage to cells and boosts the immune system. Blueberries are also loaded in vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. Blueberries can be added to oatmeal, granola, smoothies and yoghurt or served on the side as a snack.
A superfood due the amazing amounts of antioxidants it contains. It also boosts beta-carotene and vitamin c. Kale is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and protects the heart. My favourite way to serve up kale is using it in soup and hiding it in smoothies after pureeing it!
“Serves up vitamin D, a nutrient that triggers and arms the body’s T-cells, immune cells that kill invading bacteria and viruses, including the influenza virus. Six ounces of cooked salmon (sockeye) delivers 890 IU (international units) of vitamin D.
o Salmon is also a good source of protein and vitamin B6, also needed for healthy immune function.
o Even if you eat salmon regularly, adults should take vitamin D3 supplement daily in the fall and winter (Osteoporosis Canada recommends vitamin D year-round by Kristin Kirkpatrick).
Garlic has properties that make it both helpful for fighting fungal infections, viruses and bacteria. Cooked or raw this superfood will not let you down throughout the year, but especially during the start of a cold or flu bug. Tip: pour olive oil over the entire garlic bulb in a baking dish, cook for 30 minutes at 350’F and use the cooled down cloves as a spread on bread, in soups and stirfry’s or straight up for the brave hearted.
Raw Nuts and Seeds
Raw almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp, flax seeds and chia seeds are some incredible superfoods that contain healthy fats and minerals. These fats help protect the heart, immune system and skin. There benefits are lengthy. For example pumpkin seeds contain zinc which increase the production of infection-fighting white blood cells and T cells.
Adding any and all of these foods is sure to help support your family’s immune system not just during the winter but all year long. Adding new foods to our diets can take time so keep this list handy and start slowly.