Immunity-Boosting FoodsFood alone can't protect against the common cold or flu, and the science isn't yet clear on which nutrients may bolster immunity to reduce your risk of getting sick. But experts agree that a diet rich in a variety of produce, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products―along with adequate sleep, moderate exercise, and minimal stress―contributes to a well-functioning immune system and may promote a faster recovery if you do come down with a cold or flu. Here are some key nutrients and tips that will help increase the likelihood that you'll fly through the winter months in good health.
Eat for Health“An overall healthful diet rich in vitamins and minerals is your best bet for the cold weather months,” says Julia Zumpano, RD, of the Cleveland Clinic Department of Preventive Cardiology. “You’ll also benefit from other nutrients not typically found in supplements when you eat a whole food.” Zumpano encourages plenty of fruits and vegetables (for vitamins C and E); whole grains, lean meats, and poultry (for zinc); and low-fat dairy products (for vitamin A). For example, in addition to vitamin E, a whole grain like quinoa or rye bread offers fiber, B vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, which support overall good health.
Choose citrus, like grapefruit, oranges, kumquats, tangerines, and clementines as well as canned tomatoes, chiles, or pineapple for vitamin C.