Alluring autumn is here, bringing crispy breezes, colorful leaves, plump pumpkins…and loads of nasty cold and flu germs. Don’t let fever, chills and stuffiness ruin this super season; instead, follow a few time-honored natural methods to boost your body’s bacterial and viral defenses.
Pack in the Protein
Days are shorter and colder, inviting steamy treats like spicy chili and savory stew. Many disease fighting antibodies are made of protein, and lean meats, fish and chicken give a potent kick of germ-busting power to your diet. Protein-rich foods like beef, pork, beans, oysters and crabmeat are also loaded with bacteria-fighting zinc, builder of infection-fighting white blood cells. Loaded with protein and good fats, nuts like cashews, almonds and walnuts are super sources of immunity-boosting magnesium.
Feast on Fantastic Fruits and Veggies
You can’t go wrong with fruits and veggies, and those rich in vitamins A, C and E are also super flu-defenders. For best results, chow down on about five cups of varied green, orange and yellow produce. Vitamin A, packed into such veggies as sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin and dark leafy greens, helps regulate the immune system and combat invasive germs. Mighty defender against colds and flu, vitamin C also improves iron absorption and is found in citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli and papayas. Pick nuts, seeds and turnips for extra vitamin E, known to fight flu and upper respiratory infections.
Take a Walk
Fall’s crispy, sunny days are perfect for a vigorous hike. Even 20 to 30 minutes of exercise a day can help charge up the immune system, keeping antibodies and white cells moving through the body in an active search for bacteria and viruses to attack. The increase in physical activity also works wonders for circulation, triggering the release of pathogen-fighting immune cells. Moderate workouts are the key to bolstering immunities, as extremely strenuous activities such as marathon running can actually cause a decrease in circulating white blood cells.