Flu season peaks in the winter, and colds get passed around more when we’re cooped up indoors. During the 2018–2019 influenza season, the Centers for Disease Control estimated that the flu was associated with more than 35.5 million illnesses and 490,600 hospitalizations. Of course, no one likes being sick—but what solutions do you have other than washing your hands often and staying away from infected people? Luckily, immunity-boosting foods may be the remedy that you seek.
Here’s a pro tip: By preparing and eating the right foods throughout the winter, you can supercharge your body’s ability to stave off sickness. Just as you work on strength and size gains in the gym, you can work on your immune system in the kitchen. And just like workouts at the gym, you’ll be able to see and feel the benefits of a healthy diet.
The compounds and nutrients in these foods can have an enormously positive influence on your health. If you need help improving your immune response, you can enjoy a bowl of flavonoid-rich blueberries. Is your body a little low on zinc? Serve up a stir-fry with beef. Require more than 100% of your recommended dietary intake of Vitamin A? A single sweet potato is all you need. By choosing to fuel your body in the correct way, you can help it fight off bacterial infections, stimulate white blood cell production, reduce chronic inflammation, or even prevent cancer.
Here are 13 immunity-boosting foods that will help your body better fight back against germs and keep you healthy all winter long. And, best of all, if you know your way around a kitchen, they can also taste delicious.
Christy Brissette, M.S., R.D. is a media dietitian whose work can be found here.
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