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  • Writer's pictureLaura McClendon

Jolt Your Immune System

Last week we chatted about boosting your immune system with 9 essential vitamins and herbs. Today, let's talk about foods that can help you too!

"1. Garlic

Garlic could really be in your meals every day. This superfood is a cousin of the onion and has three immunity boosting qualities you need in your diet: antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. The main component in garlic is allicin, which fights bacteria and infection with a packed punch. And as a bonus, bugs don’t develop an immunity to garlic like they can with antibiotics, so it works every time, no matter how much garlic you eat.

The active ingredient in garlic is destroyed after an hour of smashing the cloves, so make sure you always eat it fresh. To truly see the benefits of garlic, eat two raw cloves a day and add crushed garlic to your meals a few times throughout the week.

2. Chicken Soup

Turns out that chicken soup is more than simply soothing when you’re under the weather. In fact, the University of Nebraska found that almost all brands of chicken soup block the migration of inflammatory white cells, which is what causes cold symptoms to manifest. Cooked chicken also contains the amino acid cysteine, the same chemical found in some bronchitis medications. And the warm broth does more than sooth sore throats. The salt in chicken broth helps to thin mucus the same way most drugs do.

To really get the best benefit out of your chicken soup, add immune boosting spices such as garlic, oregano and black pepper. Eat a whole bowl any time you feel a cold coming on.

3. Tea

Tea doesn’t just feel good on sore throats, it also fights viruses and contains free-radical destroying antioxidants. In both black and green teas is a compound called interferon, which contains the amino acid L-theanine. This amino acid rages war on viruses, killing them twice as fast. Teas also contain antioxidants, which repair and maintain cell health, helping you get back to normal faster than ever.

Black and green teas are the best for immune system support, caffeinated or not. To get the most out of your tea bag, dip it in and out of your hot water at least five times before letting your tea steep. This releases the antioxidants and helps the flavor spread.

4. Beef

Beef has a lot of immunity boosting vitamins, such as vitamin A and E, omega-3 fatty acids and beta carotene. But most importantly, beef contains a high amount of zinc, which helps develop white blood cells. When your body gets a virus, white blood cells are the defenders sent to destroy it.

Not all beef is created equal. Cows that are fed corn instead of grass lose a lot of their natural vitamins and minerals, and that depletion is transferred into your food. Instead, opt for grass-fed beef whenever you can, and finding organic meat doesn’t hurt as well.

5. Mushrooms

Another white blood cell booster, mushrooms help to produce and keep white blood cells active. This is because mushrooms contain strong compounds called beta-glucans, which increase immunity by binding to macrophages and other scavenger white blood cells, activating their anti-infection properties. On top of supercharging your virus-fighters, mushrooms contain protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin C, and B vitamins.

Mushrooms that pack the most punch are shiitake, maitake and reishi mushrooms. Just like garlic, these immunity supporters should be added to every meal and eaten on a daily basis. If you’re not a mushroom person, there are lots of ways to throw them into dishes without making them the star, like adding them to marinara sauce, omelettes and pizza."

Talk to you soon,

Laura M.

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