Food For Thought

Winter Is Coming: How to Build up Your Immune System

Kate Glover, 12/08/2014

While the fall and winter months bring us plenty of joyful family holidays—filled with chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose—they also inflict upon us a seemingly endless bout of visits to the doctor, fatigue, and sick days off from work.

It’s official; flu season has arrived.

But here’s the good news: by eating a nutrient-rich, healthy diet, we can boost our immune systems and avoid those pesky, long-lasting colds altogether. Instead of stocking up on tissues, cough drops, and Dayquil, let’s arm our immune systems with the best defense possible: vegetables! 

Remember when your mother wouldn’t let you leave the dinner table until you finished your broccoli? As always, Mom knows best.

Our health has everything to do with what we put into our bodies. Unfortunately, without Mom to tell us otherwise, we sometimes end up eating a diet high in processed foods, full of added sweeteners and trans fats, and low in the immune-building nutrients we sorely need.

It’s time to take control and do our bodies a favor; instead of trying to mask symptoms with medication after we’ve already caught a cold, let’s change the way we eat so we won’t get sick in the first place.

Here are just some of the vegetables that will help:

Cruciferous Vegetables like broccoli, kale, arugula, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beets, and cabbage, among others, contain antiviral and antibacterial agents that keep our bodies healthy and disease free. These vegetables have sulfur-containing compounds that, when broken down, have immune-enhancing capabilities.

Garlic and onions are also great for our health. They contain allicin, a compound that keeps our cells safe from chronic disease. Antioxidants in garlic and onions create natural antiseptics that fight infection and prevent colds. 

Another powerful soldier that fights to build up our immune system is the mushroom. Mushrooms increase the activity of our NKTs (natural killer T cells), which attack cells infected by viruses.

Just because winter is closing in, that doesn’t mean we have to succumb to the sickness that comes with it. Be proactive; nourish your body so it can defend itself!   


What are some of your favorite veggies to eat on a cold day? Share with us below!       

comments powered by Disqus