5 Fresh Foods To Boost Immunity

by in Healthy Tips, February 17, 2009

This winter, protect yourself from those cold or flu bugs going around. Eat more of these fresh foods to build up your immunity.

1) Nuts
Snack on almonds, cashews or walnuts, which are packed with vitamin E. This antioxidant helps kick those pesky free-radicals out of your body. Vitamin E also helps create antibodies that fight bacteria that make you sick. Other healthy vitamin E-rich foods are seeds and whole grains.

2) Citrus Fruits
The famous vitamin C helps fight infection and a good antioxidant to have — along with vitamin E. But there is more to citrus than just orangesgrapefruits, clementines, lemons, limes and tangerines are all part of this family, and they’re in season in winter so you can enjoy them at their juiciest. Citrus not your thing? Try bell peppers — they have more vitamin C than an orange! Potatoes, tomatoes and kiwi are also great sources.

3) Shrimp
So you’ve heard shrimp has cholesterol, but it’s also extremely low in fat and contains the antioxidant selenium. Many foods have a combination of nutrients, and you need to weigh the “bad” with the “good.” Selenium is a mineral needed in small amounts and works to support a healthy immune system. Seafood and meat are great sources for it.

4) Yogurt
The probiotics — or “good bacteria” found in yogurt and other foods — keep your digestive system up and running. According to research from the Journal of the American Dietetics Association, consuming foods with probiotics regularly may also help boost your immune system. Sauerkraut, miso and tempeh are other food sources to try.

5) Green Tea
The polyphenols in green tea act as potent antioxidants. Research suggests that catechins, a specific type of polyphenol, may stimulate the immune system cells and hinder disease-promoting compounds. Although you may detect a bitter taste, you can disguise it with a bit of honey. Adding milk is a no-no as it will bind to the polyphenols and stop their immunity benefits. (See some of Dana’s ideas on enjoying tea.)

Immunity Downers
Eating tons of high-fat foods and forgoing your daily fruits and veggies can also weaken the immune system. Smokers have an added disadvantage as smoking increases free-radicals, which definitely takes a toll on the immune system (another good reason to quit).

Be wary of restaurants promoting specialty drinks or products with add-ins that claim to increase immunity. The makers of Airborne settled a $23.3 million dollar false advertising suit last year because they claimed the vitamin and mineral mixture miraculously fights the common cold. Your best bet is sticking with whole, natural foods.

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Comments (104)

  1. Gina says:

    Iron Chef needs to be on the Sports channel; those viewers like that stressing action. My favorites cooks are Rachel and Aida, but you can’t beat Paula for a fun time cooking with friends.

  2. Sandi Love says:

    I agree with mostly everyone above, I used to watch Food Network all the time and learn from it. It has changed so much that I hardly ever watch anymore. There are too many cooking challenges. Bring back the shows with Ina Garten, Giada, Sara Molten, and many others where we can learn and gather recipes. I miss that. Also you website has changed, and I am afraid to say, not for the better. Please bring back the ‘good ole’ days’.

  3. Theresa Jackson , M. D. says:

    I totally agree with all the comments posted above about too many “challenges” on the Food Network. Also happy
    to see that someone else noticed the lack of washing meat
    and vegetable ingredients before incorporating them into
    recipes. Along with that, please tell the chefs to avoid
    wearing such long sleeves that “dangle” into the dishes
    while they are preparing them! I, too, would also like to see more recipes presented for “special” diets, like ADA-
    approved menus or gluten-free menus, etc. Please be-
    come the user-friendly, wholesome cooking station you
    were when I first tuned in so many years ago. And please keep the diverse,creative, inspiring, informative
    personalities coming! I want to be entertained and en-
    couraged to use my new kitchen! And for goodness
    sake, bring back Emeril!

  4. Susan says:

    Hate to beat a dead horse, but everyone is right about the challenge shows. Way too many of them! For those of us who work during the day there are few opportunities to see the actual preparing of meals and learning new recipes. Bring back more of the shows with individual contributors in the evening. Please!! It’s not even fun to watch anymore.

  5. Susan says:

    Hey everyone, go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/contact-us/package/index.html or use the link in the comment three comments up to express your opinion. This is only going to Healthy Eats and not to the Food Network.

  6. Marie says:

    I agree with the other comments regarding too many challenge shows. We want to come home from work & watch a “good” cooking show with recipes we can try at home. I also agree with so many that the cleavage is just too much, I usually will turn the channel even if it is one of my favorites. I also very seldom go to the website it is just too difficult to find the recipe or whatever I am looking for, even just to read & look for new things. I am watching more HGTV & the Hallmark channel nowadays.

  7. Donna says:

    I agrree FN is NOTHING like it was.But I would ask that Rachael Ray goes away,along with her husband.Please DO NOT give her another show!Why do they think we want to see someone throw slop together 5 times a day, and then listen to her narrate about places she hasn’t even walked into to.Go Alton!!.

  8. pat g says:

    what happened to the shoe that john beash was to host “my la.” please get back to cooking shows not so much drama! where is sara molten? miss her!

  9. Sabrina says:

    I agree with most of the viewers here. FN is about the food, first and foremost. Less challenges, please. I love Paula, Alton, Sandra, Giada, Rachel, Guy, Emeril, Sunny, Tyler, Iron Chef, Bobby (Throwdown is great). I saw a show not too long ago that focused on Raw Food Diet. More of that, please. Also, diabetics need help, too. Get Patty Labelle to cook on your network, she is wonderful for diabetic cooking. Macrobiotic cooking would be great, bring back Mario. How about juicing? Let’s see the Food Network go greener. Thank you for all of your hard work. Love you guys!

  10. Gabriele says:

    It is probably easier for your budget by using “Challenges”. But apparently a lot of us dislike them. This is not cooking! So, I too do not watch your channel any more.

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