It’s that time of year again, and we aren’t talking about candy cane lattes. We are talking about cold and flu season. That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep healthy. Although there are many factors at play, our stomachs have a major impact on how our immune system functions. It is where we process all of the nutrients and micronutrients that will fuel us throughout the day. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will keep your immune system in tip-top shape:
- Processed sugar: High blood sugar levels reduces our white blood cells’ ability to fight foreign pathogens.
- Alcohol: Regular alcohol consumption can lead to immune deficiency. We might be on holiday from work and school, but our immune systems simply can’t take time off.
- Fatty Foods: Foods that are fried and full of fat slow down our body’s ability to respond to infection, giving that nasty flu a better chance at sticking around.
- Simple Carbs: These refined grains quickly convert to glucose in our body when they are digested. Put simply, they’re basically sugar.
- Fruits & Veggies: Aside from your usual leafy greens, indulge in garlic, sweet potato, and mushrooms for a great boost. All of these contain large amounts of vitamins shown to aid the immune system.
- Probiotics: If you keep your stomach happy, you can keep your immune system happy. Probiotics, like those found in yogurt, are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs.
- Whole Grains: Grains like oats and barley contain a fiber which has antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities. Bring on the oatmeal!
- Chicken Soup: Turns out your mom was right about this stuff! Chicken soup contains the amino acid cysteine. This amino acid actually blocks the migration of inflammatory white cells. Add in some garlic, and you’ve got a winning combination!
Filling up with good food is essential to good health. If you wouldn’t pump your diesel truck with gasoline, why would you fuel your body with low-nutrition food? You’re just going to sputter to a halt, and wreck something along the way. With proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition, your body will be ready to face anything this winter brings!