It is definitely the season for colds and flu. With N1H1 all around it is important to pull out all the stops to prevent getting sick. Besides vigilant hand washing, getting 8 hours sleep, eliminating sugar and eating the obvious antioxidant laden foods which will help to boost your immune system, read on to learn about other foods that have a high ORAC (put in the meaning of this) value and thus an ability to also prevent cellular damage and reverse the signs of aging.
Apples - You've heard the saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away!" Apples are a great source of vitamin C. Flavonoids found in all plants not only give the apple its color but also produce amino acids that reduce inflammation and are protective against viruses.
Found in the skin of the apple, the amino acid Quercitin has been widely studied and can actually reduce the life of a cold or flu. Because peeling the apple results in the loss of flavonoids and valuable fiber, this is one fruit that you should buy organic. Should you like apple juice, we recommend that you buy the cloudy apple juice as it contains up to four times more protective polyphenols as does the clear.
Rx-One medium apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Blueberries - The United States Blueberry Council reports that the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of blueberries is higher than most other fresh fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants in blueberries, "anthocyanins", give blueberries their deep, dark color. Phenolics, also found in large amounts in blueberries, are known to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system and improve mental capacity!
Rx- One cup of blueberries a day, for beautiful skin is what they say!
Broccoli - Called the "miracle food", broccoli belongs to the Brassicaceae cruciferous family that also includes cabbage, mustard greens, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, turnips, kale and Swiss chard. Tasty green broccoli packs the most nutritional punch of any vegetable and is low in calories and high in fiber. Broccoli is loaded with sulfurophane, an immune booster that supports a healthy gastrointestinal tract, eliminates free radicals and is a tumor deterrent.
Rx-One half cup of broccoli a day brings health your way!
Chicken Soup - Soups made of chicken, chicken broth, vegetables and noodles have been found to help relieve the symptoms of the common cold by thinning mucus secretion and providing a nutrient density that gives you energy and helps you heal. When you´re sick, hydration is also essential and chicken soup is a great way to take in fluids. Try for a low sodium brand, there are also organic brands on the market or make it yourself.
Rx-Mother says, "a bowl or two of chicken soup is just what you need!"
Citrus Fruits - Vitamin C!! Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemon and limes contain limonoid glucosides which are water soluble fibrous compounds that can protect against cancer and reduce inflammation. Mixed limonoid glucosides can also be found in most juices. Organic juice with plenty of pulp is a great way to get your daily Vitamin C.
Rx-One to two servings a day brings sunshine your way!
Garlic - Garlic contains a compound called allicin; a potent antioxidant which actually prevents colds as well as shortens their duration. It has been used for centuries as a natural antibiotic and antiviral. Whole cloves, crushed, minced and cooked work best mixed in food. I often roast an entire head of garlic in the oven for 30 minutes until the cloves are soft and I spread them on high fiber bread. Yummy!
Rx-One to two cloves to ward off colds!
Green Tea - Green tea contains the antioxidant catechin polyphenol and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) that helps boost immune function and fights off illness-causing bacteria and viruses. Studies show it is a natural anti-viral and antibacterial remedy and can also inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Rx- A cup or two a day of Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but you may want to drink early in the day if you are caffeine sensitive or drink a decaffeinated blend.
Oats - Loaded with beta-glucan, a soluble fiber, oats pump up the performance of your immune system by significantly enhancing your system's response to bacterial infections. Oats also help lower "bad" LDL cholesterol. One cup of oats also contains nearly 4 grams of healing fiber, potent phytochemicals and phenolic antioxidant compounds which are necessary for normal brain and nerve function!
Rx- one cup gluten-free oats daily-add blueberries for an additional antioxidant boost!
Spinach - Belonging to the same family as chard and beets, spinach is known as one of the top 10 super foods. Eating two cups of spinach can be just as effective as taking a large dose of vitamin C. High in fiber, antioxidants and phyto-nutrients, it contains vitamin K, coenzyme Q10, folate, iron and carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Spinach reduces inflammation and the effects of age-related brain function decline.
Rx-One cup of spinach daily, sniffle cure for sure!
Water - "Mother Nature's Healthy Cocktail", is essential for cleansing and detoxifying the body. 80% of your body is water and drinking enough encourages your body to eliminate waste and toxins that can keep you sick.
Rx- 6-8 glasses of water daily will keep you in winning form this winter!
Winter Squash and Pumpkin - Low in calories and high in fiber, these yummy winter vegetables are packed with disease busting carotenoids which are easily converted to Vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a central role in the health of your heart, eyes, skin and immune system. One cup of these delicious vegetables can supply you with 450% of the daily recommendations for Vitamin A.
Also don't forget the pumpkin seeds. The seeds may be roasted as a healthy snack containing loads of immune boosting Zinc or blend them with olive oil to form a paste. Spread it on rice cakes for an immune boosting treat!
Rx-one cup of mixed veggies daily and snack on pumpkin seeds.