Does it seem like you have been sick all winter long? Do you start to feel great after you “get over” one cold or virus only to have another hit you days later? Winter-time is prime-time for colds and other viruses to spread, but it may seem like you are getting hit with them much more often than your friends and even family members. Don’t worry, because you don’t have to take a magic potion or pill to give your immune system a boost and even help it kill those “bad” bacteria and viruses that are making you sick when you begin eating the right foods every day.
Most foods that help you fight illness can be found right at your local supermarket, and many are not only healthy, but tasty as well!
Here are the best foods to prevent viruses and bacterial infections of all kinds and boost your immune and why:
1. Kefir, Yogurt, or Kombucha
If you think that probiotics only benefit your digestive system, then think again. Eating more probiotic-rich foods is the number-one way to ward off colds and flus naturally. The “good bacteria” in probiotics, specifically a strain called Lactobacillus reuteri, help your body produce more white blood cells, which are your body’s natural illness-fighters.
You don’t have to pop a daily pricey probiotic supplement, because studies show that just one serving of a probiotic-rich food, such as yogurt, is enough to signal your body to generate more of these illness-fighting blood cells.
The main component in garlic that makes it so great for you is called allicin. Allicin is such a great natural antibiotic that it even kills the antibiotic-resistant super-bug called MRSA.
Unlike antibiotics, garlic not only kills bacteria, but it also has the power to fight viruses. That makes it a great food to include in your diet all winter, because colds and flus are viral infections that antibiotics cannot fight.
It is important to eat raw garlic to obtain the health benefits, because cooking it destroys its natural illness-fighting components. Crush a few cloves every day and use it as a spread on toast or crackers, add the crushed garlic to a pasta sauce after you have cooked it and allowed it to cool to room temperature.
3. Chicken or Vegetable Soup
Thought that eating chicken soup to fight illnesses was an old-wives tale? The truth is that salty soups and broths (even vegetarian varieties) truly do help fight infections in several ways.
First, since soups always contain a hearty amount of sodium, it has the ability to kill any bacteria it comes into contact with by pulling the water out of the cells through osmosis.
In addition, chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine that helps thin the mucous in your lungs and nasal passages. This thinner mucus is easier to cough up or blow out your nose, and along with the mucus comes the bad bacteria you are fighting.
Vegetarian? Don’t worry, because you can fill your soup with vitamin-packed veggies that naturally boost your immune system. Kale and carrots are great veggies to put in an immunity boosting soup, along with any other vitamin-packed veggies you love.