It’s only November, but it feels as though winter has come early this year! While this may indicate the start of the holiday season, it also indicates the start of the common cold season. Unfortunately, sudden weather changes have potential to be damaging to our immune systems. The quicker the weather changes, the easier it is for you to catch a cold. Luckily, fighting off the common cold could be easier than you think, and it starts with consuming the right foods (those that are the most “nutrient-dense” as possible). If you’re trying to ward off symptoms of the common cold this season, here are some foods you should definitely be eating!
Citrus fruits have a high concentration of vitamin C, which sustains both the body’s white blood cells and its immune system. While vitamin C has not been proven to actually prevent colds, it still offers some benefits. Whether you’re making freshly-squeezed juices, or simply cutting up an orange or grapefruit into slices, citrus will do wonders in reducing a cold’s duration if you’re already suffering from one.
Fun fact: red bell peppers are said to consist of a higher concentration of vitamin C than oranges, making them a great food for some additional vitamin C!
Vitamins and antioxidants are essential in sustaining your body’s wellness, especially if you want to avoid the common cold. Luckily, avocados are both vitamin- and antioxidant-rich! These fruits are a great source of vitamin E, a critical vitamin that shields several diseases and helps sustain overall health. These fruits are not only versatile and delicious to eat, but they also have high concentrations of glutathione, which is an important antioxidant that enables the body to absorb necessary nutrients.
Food sources of Zinc
According to Amber Ketchum, Registered Dietician for Shane Diet and Fitness Resorts, good food sources of Zinc include beans, pumpkin seeds, nuts, whole grains, and lean beef. Zinc is an essential mineral for maintaining a healthy immune system needed to prevent a cold from erupting. Amber informs us that having enough Zinc-including foods in your diet may actually help boost your body’s resistances and increase your ability to fight off illness!
Dark, leafy greens
According to Amber, “spinach, Kale, and Arugula are great food sources that are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients, and are thought to be helpful in preventing illnesses like the common cold (again by boosting the immune system).” Eating these greens fresh, whole, and raw would be best, because processing these greens can devitalize and denature many of the antioxidants and nutrients that are responsible for the vegetables’ medicinal values.
Raw ginger root is a must-have in your pantry this season to fight off those uninvited common cold symptoms. This herb contains carminative properties, which means it has the ability to empty out the body’s intestinal track and make it tougher and healthier! Ginger is also known as a warming herb, which means it improves the body’s blood circulation, reduces inflammation, and calms the respiratory system. This is exactly why fresh ginger is said to treat the coughing and fever that typically accompany colds. A great way to digest this herb is by making ginger tea, because after all, everyone knows a boiling hot cup of tea can help separate chest congestion and ease a sore throat!
This herb has been considered useful for not only its flavorful purposes, but also its medicinal and therapeutic abilities for thousands of years! Garlic inhibits a flavoring agent called alliin which acts as a useful decongestant. Garlic is also said to operate as an antioxidant and destroy unwanted free-radicals (functioning oxygen molecules that harm cells), so incorporating garlic into your go-to foods and recipes is recommended!
According to Amber, “protein is important for maintaining muscle health, but it also has many other functions in the body, including helping the body make antibodies that help fight illness. Go for lean chicken or turkey breast, fish, extra lean beef, or non-meat proteins like beans, nuts, and seeds.”
Amber also states that yogurt has beneficial properties for fighting off colds, particularly because it contains billions of active live cultures (the good type of bacteria!) we refer to as probiotics. According to Amber, “since most of our immune system is actually located in our gut, having enough healthy bacteria is essential to maintaining our immune systems.” If you’re a bit skeptical about eating yogurt, start off simple by trying out a plain Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of jam or honey for a treat that tastes sweet but also packs an essential probiotics punch!
If you’re looking for the perfect immunity-booster, oats are a great option. Whether you eat them in a snack bar or in a breakfast bowl, oats are packed with a certain dietary fiber called beta-glucan, which is well known for its cholesterol-reducing and immune-enhancing powers. They’re known for having a ton of amino acids as well, which are extremely essential proteins that help simplify optimum body performance. Not only that, but oats also have a favorable balance of fatty acids, which are needed in the body and have been linked with longevity and overall great health and wellness!