Stack Your Immune System

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With the threat
of the H1N1 flu virus this year, you might want to trade the sugary
treats for some “power foods” to boost your immune system.

Nutritionists
agree that by adding “super foods” to your diet, you may
keep the flu at bay. Christen Sherwood, owner of the Healing House
Center for Natural Health in Clear Lake, said that one such power
food – elderberries – are “proven to work as good
as Tamiflu.”

Elderberries
are high in antioxidants and contain antiviral properties that are
great for preventing flu and colds, she said.

Rita Sheldahl,
a licensed and registered dietician at Mercy Medical Center-North
Iowa, suggests fruits and vegetables of any kind. “The darker
the color, the better they are for you,” she said.

It’s best
to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
To maximize the variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,
aim to consume two different colors of vegetables and fruits with
each meal. Cover two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruit,
whole grains, and beans, and one-third with lean protein.

So instead
of popping cookies and drinking eggnog, try some of these foods
to prevent flu and colds:

  • Spices like
    turmeric, cayenne pepper and garlic: Sherwood said that these
    spices reduce inflammation, which helps strengthen your immune
    system.

    “Garlic
    is especially great if you feel like you’re getting a cold,”
    said Sherwood, a certified clinic herbalist. “You can mix
    garlic with a honey syrup and let it sit for 48 hours and eat
    that as well.”

    Garlic
    can reduce bronchial infections and is effective in fighting
    sore throats and infection, while honey is brimming with healing
    energy and antibacterial power, she said. Try mixing honey,
    lemon and ginger in hot water to fight the common cold, suggests
    Sherwood.

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December
24, 2009

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