As we age, our ability to fight infections naturally decreases. Our immune systems are also weakened during the winter months, no matter your age. Luckily, there are foods with immune-boosting properties that you can add to your diet. Consider including these foods in your diet to help increase your flu-fighting power in the upcoming winter season:
1. Wild Salmon: Eating wild salmon at least twice per week provides your body with a natural source of Vitamin D. This powerful vitamin is essential to your immune system’s ability to kill bacteria and other viruses.
2. Pumpkin: Carving pumpkins for Halloween? Save the pulp to make pumpkin soup or roast the pumpkin seeds for a savory, immunity-boosting dish. Your body converts the beta-carotene in this seasonal squash into Vitamin A, which helps spur the production of infection fighting white blood cells.
3. Mushrooms: Asian mushrooms, such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms, are rich in beta-glucans (a type of carbohydrate) which promote the production of white blood cells. White button mushrooms contain selenium and riboflavin, both of which help fight bacterial infections.
4. Lean Beef: Lean beef contains iron and zinc, two nutrients that help fight infection, viruses and parasites as well as the antioxidant selenium, which defends and repairs immune cells. Limit portions to 3 ounces.
5. Legumes: Packed with iron, zinc, and vitamin B6, which helps create lymphocytes, legumes are a great source of immune boosting-power.
Challenge: Try cooking dinner tonight with three of the five aforementioned items.