Between 5 to 20 percent of Americans will contract influenza this season. Of those, about 200,000 will land in the hospital due to complications. To give you and your family a better chance at staying healthy, learn some foods that boost immunity.
- Elderberry: An old folk remedy, elderberry is loaded with antioxidants that may help fight against inflammation. Studies suggest elderberry extract may be able to block flu viruses; however, researchers say more studies are needed to confirm any direct benefits.
- Button Mushrooms: Rich in niacin and riboflavin, mushrooms can help boost your immune system. They also contain selenium, which may help minimize the severity of flu symptoms.
- Oysters: This super food packs a powerful immune-boosting punch, thanks to high levels of zinc, which helps create and activate white blood cells.
- Watermelon: The red flesh of water melon is rich in an antioxidant called glutathione, which helps to strengthen the immune system.
- Wheat Germ: Loaded with zinc, antioxidants, B vitamins, fiber, protein and healthy fats, wheat germ offers a number of immune-boosting benefits.
- Yogurt: Low-sugar yogurt contains probiotics and vitamin D, which may help to reduce the severity of flu symptoms.
- Spinach: This super food is abundant with nutrients, including folate, which helps the body generate new cells and repair DNA.
- Tea: Black, green and white tea all contain disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids.
- Sweet Potato: The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes helps to bolster the immune system.
- Garlic: Studies suggest that garlic improves immune function due to a heavy concentration of allicin and other sulfur-containing compounds.
The Best Way to Prevent the Flu
While a healthy diet can help boost immune function, it won’t necessarily keep you from getting sick. To drastically reduce your risk of contracting influenza, be sure to get a seasonal vaccine. By causing the body to create antibodies against the most common seasonal flu virus, immunization can prevent you from getting sick, regardless of exposure.