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Eating for Immunity

We have some tips on what to eat to maximize your immune system, and what to eat and nutritional supplements that maybe helpful if you contract the coronavirus or a flu.

Eating poorly can make you ill, and eating poorly while ill can extend your illness so try to stay away from refined sugars.

If your diet is lousy, you’ll get sick more often than someone who eats a healthier diet. Viruses and bacterial infections will hit you harder and keep you out for longer. Meanwhile, eating poorly while you are sick will only make you sicker. Good nutrition allows our bodies to respond to germy invaders quickly and efficiently, and in order to function well, the cells of our immune system need plenty of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.

A healthy gut is essential to immunity, and prebiotics and probiotics in food and supplements may help prevent illness.

Some of the best whole food sources of prebiotic are vegetables like asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and onions. Carbs like barley, beans, oats, quinoa, rye, wheat, potatoes, and yams; fruit such as apples, bananas, berries, citrus, kiwi; and fats such as flax seeds and chia seeds.

The best whole-food sources of probiotics are dairy such as yogurt, cheese, and kefir with live and active cultures; fermented vegetables like pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi; fermented soy such as miso and tempeh, and soy sauce and wine.

Things to do to avoid getting sick include avoiding over- or under-exercising, avoiding over- or under-eating, maintaining a healthy body weight, washing your hands, getting enough sleep consistently, managing stress, eating plenty of nutrient-dense foods, and feeding your healthy body.

What to eat when ill

Foods that may hasten recovery when you have a virus or infections are:

GarlicMay act as antibiotic and lessens the severity of colds and other infections.

Chicken soup — Commonly touted as a food for colds, chicken soup (made from scratch, not a can) provides fluids and electrolytes, is warm and soothing, and may also contain anti-inflammatory properties that may decrease cold symptoms.

Green tea — Boosts the production of B cell antibodies, helping us rid ourselves of invading pathogens.

Honey — Is thought to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and is an effective cough suppressant. In one study it was as effective as a cough-suppressing drug. A few teaspoons in a cup of green tea is all you need.

Elderberries These have antiviral properties and are loaded with phytonutrients. A few small studies have found the elderberry extract reduces the duration of colds and other upper respiratory tract infections.

If you’re already sick, drink lots of fluids (especially water and green tea), rest as much as possible to recover, focus on immune-boosting foods, supplement with pre- and probiotics, and use Immune-boosting supplements.

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