Foods to Boost Your Immune System

….and prevent a cold virus from catching you this winter season.

The fall and winter months provide an ideal climate for cold viruses to thrive and wiggle their way into our body systems. So once the leaves start changing colors and the frost covers the ground it becomes all that more important to take preventative measures to stay well.

Contributing wellness factors include getting moderate activity for fresh air and blood flow, adequate sleep for body recovery and rejuvenation, and self-care for avoiding emotional distress.

Oh yes, and food. Nutritious, immune boosting food!

Certain nutrients help the immune system directly or indirectly by: prevention of cell damage from unstable molecules (antioxidants protect against free radicals), preventing the growth of or killing off microbes (which include bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites) and decreasing inflammation in cells and tissues.


Here are a few key foods, and their highlighted nutrients, to include in your diet to help prevent those annoying cold symptoms.

  1. Garlic and onions. Contain the phytonutrient allicin, among other compounds= antimicrobial.**
  2. Peppers, all varieties! Contain vitamin C and capsasin= antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.IMG_20150511_184332740IMG_20150308_172540942_HDR
  3. Salmon. Contains vitamin E and omega-3 oils= antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
  4. Lentils and pumpkin seeds. Contain minerals zinc, selenium and iron= help with activity of antioxidant enzymes.
  5. Green tea. Contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)= antimicrobial and antioxidant.

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Plus any produce that is naturally blue, purple or green; these colors represent thousands of phytonutrients that work in sync with your body to prevent and fight sickness and disease. 

Meal and snack ideas to cover all the bases:

  • Lemon and ginger green tea with cayenne and dab of local honey.
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds and handful of blueberries.
  • Lentil soup with onion and garlic, flaxseed crackers on the side.
  • Salmon fajitas with sautéed peppers and onions, avocado and salsa.

**Have you ever eaten a raw clove of garlic? It is spicy and potent! Raw or lightly cooked garlic is shown to have more antimicrobial benefit than roasted or fully cooked garlic. The more pungent your breath the better!

More information can be gained online with the OSU Linus Pauling Institute.

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