Wellness: Natural Immunity for Flu Season

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In this week’s “Food Is Life” update, food literally is life with this guide to food and spices that naturally boost the immune system from our resident foodie “The Culinary Composer”. Incorporate a good mix of this list into your diet and maybe you’ll avoid the flu bug this season.

The cold & flu season is upon us.

Kids are back in school, sharing glue, crayons, pencils, books, bathrooms, and inevitably... germs.

Even if you don’t have kids, chances are your coworkers and other people in your life do and their children are bringing home all kinds of fun germs from school.

Maintaining health while those around us sneeze and sniffle is a challenge we all face every year. Fending off the cold and flu virus requires that you extract as much immune boosting nutrition from your diet as possible.

There’s no end to the benefits of loading up on the foods and spices that are proven to strengthen the immune system and that pack the biggest nutritional punch.

Of course, avoiding processed foods, grains and sugar will prove paramount in your efforts to strengthen your immune system. However, you can do even more by incorporating foods all year round that are loaded with specific immune boosting nutrients.

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Outlined below and based on my research of multiple scientific studies is what I consider to be the absolute best foods you can eat to help protect yourself this season. This by all means is not an exhaustive listing, but is quite comprehensive.

1. Unpasteurized Grass-Fed Organic Milk: Raw organic milk from grass-fed cows contains beneficial bacteria that prime your immune system. Although raw milk availability is limited in the US depending on where you live, you can locate the source closest to you at RealMilk.com.

2. Whey Protein: Whey protein helps fight colds and flu because it contains beta-glucans and immunoglobulins, which protect your immune system and support your body’s natural detoxification processes.

3. Fermented Foods: Good microorganisms that balance your body’s “ecosystem” and strengthen immunity. Natto, kimchee, miso, tempeh, pickles, sauerkraut, yogurt (watch for sugar), and olives are great sources.

4. Organic Eggs from Free-Range Chickens: Organic eggs are an inexpensive and amazing source of high-quality nutrients that many people are deficient in, especially high-quality protein and fat.

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To find free-range pasture farms, try your local health food store, or check Eat Wild and Local Harvest.

5. Coconuts and Coconut Oil: Contains monolaurin, which is the actual compound found in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immunity.

6. Locally Grown Organic Vegetables: Stating the obvious here. Eat a variety of fresh, organic and preferably raw vegetables.

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7. Blueberries and Raspberries: These power-packed little berries rate very high in antioxidant capacity.

8. Mushrooms: Mushrooms strengthen your immune system because they are rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium and other minerals.

9. Teas: The two best types of tea for fending off microinvaders are Matcha green tea and tulsi tea.

10. Herbs and Spices: There are far too many immune boosting ones to summarize in a one page article! So here are a few of the top contenders that deserve special mention; garlic, honeysuckle, licorice, turmeric, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, peppermint and ginger.

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Incorporate some of these wonderful foods, herbs and spices to evade the circulating viruses and improve your overall health and longevity at the same time.