Food and health

10 Snacks to Boost Your Immune System

Eat to minimize your chances of catching the flu!

Routines like good hand hygiene and coughing into our elbows are important during the flu season.

You can do more:  you can eat so you boost your immune system and reduce your chances of catching the flu.

Build your defenses against infection by supporting your army of immune cells and their instructors, the helpful bacteria in your gut.  You ensure they get an abundant supply of the raw materials, workers and tools they use to fight off infections,  even before they take hold.

To  effectively fight off infection, your immune cells need a bountiful supply of natural fats, quality proteins, and fragile natural substances called phytonutrients (this includes antioxidants) which are found in plants, and when your immune cells win a battle against infection, they’ve got a mess of inflammation to clean up.  
Food can strengthen your immune cells’ ability to work in both situations.
The best part is foods that strengthen your resistance to infection and the subsequent challenges that come with them, can taste delicious and are easy to make!

10 Treats for Your Immune System

  1. Hummus dip with lots of colorful raw veggies.  You can make hummus in minutes with a food processor.
  2. Have a small snack of dark chocolate (the darker the better; 80%+ is excellent) and unsalted nuts or seeds. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews and hazelnuts are all fabulous with chocolate. If you want lightly roasted nuts or seeds, that’s fine.
  3. Make a green smoothie.  Choose vegetables in dark green colors, such as baby spinach, kale or rocket salad. Don’t like the color? Put it in a cup with a lid so you don’t see it. Or add some blueberries. Blueberries turn most green smoothies a purplish color.
  4. Make a red smoothie with lots of colorful berries and plain yogurt or your favorite plain cultured dairy product. Add a tablespoon per serving of ground seeds – especially fresh ground flax seed (yes, fresh – flax goes rancid quickly) for even more nutrients and great oils. An inexpensive small coffee grinder works great for grinding seeds in small doses. Sweeten with a bit of fruit juice (preferably not from concentrate) and/or a banana.
  5. Have a green salad with a good oil and vinegar dressing.  A great mix might be baby spinach, rocket, sprouts, scallions, lots of colorful vegetables, tomatoes and your favorite beans.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts or seeds.
  6. Eat plain yogurt with berries and a dribble of pure honey.  Add a bit of oatmeal or muesli if you like.
  7. Enjoy oatmeal!  Sweeten with berries, banana slices, a few raisins or a splash of apple juice.  Sprinkle with crushed nuts,  seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin – see the grinding trick in tip #4) and/or wheat germ.
  8. Make a fruit salad.  Fruit high in vitamin C are great: use kiwi, apple, orange, blueberry, blackberry, mango….
  9. Make kale crisps.
  10. Brew yourself some green tea; add fresh ginger and sweeten with a little honey. Get yourself some quality tea – there’s a lot out there. Green tea doesn’t need to taste grassy. A tea tip: Let the boiling water cool a bit before you poor. Water that’s too hot brings out a bitter taste in the tea.