At this point in the year, it often feels like flu season is endless—like, when does the torment stop? Unfortunately, the virus is only getting started. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)reports flu activity is strong and will continue for weeks, and that’s not good. So far, there have been 11.4 million flu illnesses, 5.4 million doctor visits, and 136,000 hospitalizations. Those stats are more than enough to convince me to look up some immunity-boosting recipes. Beyond getting the flu shot, fighting a persistent virus requires focusing on what you’re eating.
“Eating the rainbow with a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats benefits immune health, and certain nutrients are especially great at keeping your immune system healthy,” says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN. “Vitamin C keeps the immune system strong and may reduce the length and severity of symptoms of the common cold, and vitamin D helps your immune cells fight off bacteria and viruses that make their way into the body. Zinc is also important for the development of some of the cells that are in charge of defending your body against toxins or foreign substances that threaten your immunity.”
So, what are you waiting for? When you #EatTheRainbow, the flu won’t even stand a chance.
Try these immunity-boosting recipes to help you stay healthy all season long
Two prime immunity-boosting ingredients to add into your green smoothie are none other than turmeric and lemon, which experts say can not only keep you healthy, but also fight off cold symptomsif you already have them.
Both soybeans and tofu are packed with magnesium, which has been shown to keep the immune system strong thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Nothing provides all the warm and cozy feels better than a bowl of soup. This one is loaded with chickpeas, and that’s good news for your health. “They’re an excellent source of zinc, which can keep your immune system healthy,” Gorin says.
Another anti-inflammatory mix that can help out your immune system is this salad that’s filled with hijiki seaweed, quinoa, beans, and avocado.
Fermented foods are known for helping the body fight off viruses by keeping your gut health in check, and miso is full of them as it’s made from fermented soybeans. To really up the benefits, this soup also contains other immunity-boosters, like ginger, wakame, and fennel.
Turmeric strikes again in this hearty soup. Plus, you can’t beat the powers of pumpkin, which is loaded with vitamin A.
Eating some toast topped with miso paste and vitamin E-packed avocado is the perfect way to feel your best through flu season and beyond.
Another stellar smoothie option for your immune system? This sweet mix loaded with papaya, with is filled with beta-carotene—something that promotes immunity through its anti-inflammatory properties and high amounts of antioxidants.
Mushrooms contain vitamin D, which experts say can combat infections by activating T cells and producing antibodies. Plus, they help decrease inflammation, too. So why not throw some into your pasta?