Feed Your Immune System to Fight Colds and Flu

The cold and flu season is upon us. It is not inevitable that you will catch a cold or get the flu. You can take measures all year long to boost your immune system to help prevent infection or to reduce the effects of the symptoms if you do succumb to the flu. Eat a variety of foods that are rich in antioxidants to help boost your immune system. A diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential to a strong immune system. Antioxidants are found in most every fruit and vegetable. Antioxidants are nutrients that help protect your cells from damage and promote cell repair. 
Photo Credit: PlayMistyForMe CC-BY-3.0 2008
Vitamins A, E and C are essential for a healthy immune system to fight off cold and flu infection. Carrots, spinach, red bell peppers, cabbage, oranges and melons are all a rich source of vitamins A and C. A diet that does not include enough Vitamin C can make you susceptible to infection and may exacerbate your symptoms since your immune system may not be at its optimum functionality. Vitamin E is important to help maintain healthy white blood cells that are a critical part of your immune system. Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach and other greens and almonds are a good source of Vitamin E.
Many people never think about trace elements and minerals in their foods. Minerals are vital to a healthy body and a strong immune system. Zinc and selenium are especially important to immune health. Nuts, mushrooms, liver, fish and sunflower seeds are good sources of these minerals. Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, walnuts and flax seeds are important to overall immune system health. Omega-3 fatty acids are also called prostaglandins, or immune regulators. 
The more raw vegetables and fruit you eat, the better your immune system will be supported. Eat raw fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Avoid over-cooking vegetables by boiling them. Boiling destroys the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs. Try steamed vegetables or stir fry vegetables in a olive oil for maximum flavor and benefit. Drink blended natural fruit smoothies or fruit salads without processed sugar. Eating healthy foods not only helps boost your immune system, healthy foods taste great too!
For more information about nutrition and colds and flu, see:
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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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