Healthy Diet Tips to Boost Immunity This Winter

This winter, the flu season has had a later start than usual, but we shouldn’t let that lull us into a false sense of security—it’s still important to take steps daily to protect our health and prevent illness. Diet can play a large role in boosting our immunity, so check out these helpful tips on eating for your wellness this winter.

  • Some health experts recommend consuming at least one serving of Greek yogurt daily, to reap the benefits of the live cultures. Studies have shown that people who eat the probiotics found in Greek yogurt every day reduce their risk of catching a cold or flu by nearly 30 percent.

  • Speaking of beneficial bacteria, the probiotics found in sauerkraut and kimchi are reported to reduce strep activity.

  • Consider swapping out your coffee for green tea. Green tea contains an ingredient called EGCG, which scientists say can damage flu virus particles and prevent them from entering the body. EGCG may also interrupt pneumonia-causing bacteria.

  • Sweeten your tea with a bit of Manuka honey. Studies have shown the honey helps kill up to 85% of the bacteria in strep throat colonies, and it also seems to diminish a variety of staph, pneumonia, and salmonella bacteria.

  • While you’re drinking the green tea and honey, try adding some grated fresh ginger. Fresh ginger can stop the respiratory virus that leads to bronchitis or pneumonia from attaching to cells in the first place, and it seems to reduce its ability to replicate.

  • If you’re not down with ginger and green tea, you can still get relief from cold or flu symptoms by drinking a hot beverage. People who consume hot beverages report rapid improvement in more symptoms than those who drink room-temperature fluids.

  • An often overlooked breeding ground for viruses is produce. A good way to reduce your risk of illness is to blanch greens like kale, spinach, or chard prior to eating. The boiling water temperature greatly reduces the norovirus found in leafy greens.

  • Did you know that strenuous workouts can leave you vulnerable to illness? One way to keep up the intensity without reducing immunity is to increase your fish consumption. Increasing omega-3 intake can boost the post-exercise production of infection-fighting cells, which help protect against infection.

  • Add rosemary to the fish for another antiviral ingredient: carnosic acid. This compound in rosemary helps shield the body from the respiratory virus that results in bronchitis or pneumonia by reducing its ability to infect a host and replicate.

  • If you chew gum between meals, reach for packs sweetened with xylitol, a sweetener which can prevent pneumonia from establishing a stronghold in the body. Xylitol also appears to reduce the risk of ear and sinus infections.