Well, it’s already fall so you know what that means….no, not talking about the beautiful fall colors….it’s Flu Season! I find that truly the best treatment is prevention and that is achieved through good hand-washing and a strong immune system to fight off all those nasty germs. How do you get a strong immune system? Through great nutrition!
Imagine your immune system is like a brick wall, protecting your body and helping it run smoothly. All of the “bad” things we encounter (including germs and viruses) are constantly trying to punch holes in that brick wall and bring your body down. Antioxidants in our body act like band-aids to patch up these holes so we stay feeling awesome. Unfortunately, our bodies don’t produce enough of those handy antioxidants on their own so we need to get the extra from our food. What types of foods contain large amounts of antioxidants? Fruits and Vegetables! Two of my favorite things!!
You can think of these antioxidants as phytonutrients (phyto = plant, nutrients = vitamins and minerals that help the immune system). Top foods that are high in phytonutrients include:
Berries, Bell Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, Eggplant, Turmeric, Apricots, Salmon, Spinach, Nuts, Olive Oil, Broccoli, Cinnamon, Bok Choy, Radish, Mango, Red Onions, Garlic, Pomegranate, Flax seed, Greek Yogurt, Beans & Lentils, Tomatoes, Oatmeal
It’s no coincidence that you start seeing pomegranates in the grocery store during flu season - nature knows what’s up!
It’s also no coincidence that Juice Plus+ contains many of these foods and that research has shown JP to provide positive benefits to your immune system. Find out about that clinical research study here. It’s such an easy way to provide a rainbow of powerful flu-fighting nutrition every single day. One of the biggest changes in our house since Juice Plus+ is the lack of doctor’s visits and antibiotics, which has been so great for all of us (kids can even get JP for free).
Juice Plus+ is like hitting the easy button for a wide variety of phytonutrients, but you should still try to incorporate as many of these foods (7-13 servings of fresh fruits and veggies) each day. Work on your meal plan to include those top foods in your dishes each week. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on your salads or put them in your smoothies. Have your salad filled with kale, spinach, peppers, red onions, and broccoli. Enjoy greek yogurt with berries (and a bit of honey for sweetness if you need it) for breakfast. Roast sweet potatoes as a side dish for your salmon at dinner. The combinations are endless and so delicious - I’m getting hungry just thinking about all of them!
If you’re already feeling under the weather, make sure you are bumping up your fluids and rest. Drinking warm water mixed with honey and cinnamon may also be helpful. Making a tea with cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger is also another illness fighting recipe.
What about chicken soup??
Well, there is some truth to that (thanks Grandma!) because hot soup raises the temperature in the nose and throat, which may create an unwelcoming environment for viruses that thrive in cool and dry places. Research also found that the chicken itself has flu-fighting properties because it has protein groups with anti-viral activity. Homemade soup did the best to help ward off viruses.
Hope you now have a few helpful ideas on how to use food to help fight off the flu this season! I also hope that it’s an uneventful flu season for you and your family. As always, I am here to help support you on your wellness journey, so feel free to contact me or make an appointment.
Peace, Love, & Vegetables,