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The Active Times

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Foods that Boost Your Immune System

 

“Believe it or not, most immune support is based upon the health of the individual,” said Registered Dietitian for HelloFresh Rebecca Lewis. “If you eat an adequate healthy diet full of nutrient-dense foods, stay hydrated and exercise regularly—your ability to fight the common cold increases greatly. When you are feeling run down, it is always a good idea up your intake of fruits and vegetables to replace any critical vitamins and minerals you may be missing in your diet. It’s also important to manage your stress and get enough sleep to keep up your mental energy.”

While each of those tips are important for maintaining a strong immune system, it’s crucial to know which foods will help keep you cold- and flu-free this winter. We asked registered dietitians and nutritionists to name their top immune-boosting foods—these are their 11 picks.

Yogurt
 

“Probiotics, or ‘live active cultures,’ found in yogurt are healthy bacteria that help the gut,” said Stephanie Green, a registered dietitian nutritionist, chef and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Optimum Nutrition, which will be released in January. “Choose a low-sugar or plain variety and look for a label that says, ‘Live and Active Cultures’.”

 

Mushrooms
FotoosVanRobin from NetherlandsAsian mushrooms   –  Wikipedia.org
Commercial cultivated Japanese edible mushroom species. Clockwise from left, enokitake, buna-shimeji, bunapi-shimeji, king oyster mushroom and shiitake.

 

“These famous fungi have been used for centuries in various medicinal remedies. Mushrooms help to increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infection,” Green said. “Choose shiitake, maitake and reishi varieties for the biggest dose of immunity. Dice and add to pasta sauce, sprinkle over a salad, or sauté with olive oil and add to your morning omelet.”

 

 

 

Oats

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MarkusHagenlocher    –   Wkimedia.org

 

“These grains contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which contain antimicrobial properties,” Green said. “In addition to boosting immunity, oats can also speed wound healing and may help antibiotics work better.”

 

 

 

Sweet Potatoes

AlbertCahalan        –     Wikipedia.org

“Rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene, sweet potatoes help to protect your skin, which is the body’s first line of defense against sickness,” Green said. “When beta-carotene is absorbed, the body turns it into Vitamin A whose major role acts as part of the production of connective tissue, a component of skin.”

 

 

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