That time of year has come upon us once again. A sneeze here, a cough there and suddenly, everyone around us is sick. Getting sick is tough with homework, tests and other obligations piling up. We need all the help we can get, and food is always a good option. Here are seven foods that help prevent sickness and shorten the recovery time from illness.
This may be the most important root to eat in order to fight colds. Ginger contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can help clear up a cold faster. With immunity-boosting powers and a spicy taste, ginger is good to support the respiratory system and to alleviate congestion.
When it's cold outside and you don’t spend enough time in the sun, it's especially important to make sure you are getting your daily dose of vitamin D. It's a good idea to incorporate salmon into your diet, then, because salmon is rich with vitamin D, which helps you feel better faster after getting sick. Omega-3s are also found in salmon and can help greatly reduce inflammation, which means less congestion.
These nuts are rich in vitamin E, which helps maintain the immune system. Vitamin E is an important part of a healthy diet in order to fight off a wide range of viruses, including those that cause the common cold and the flu. So go ahead, eat them raw or roasted, and let the vitamin E do the work.
Dark leafy greens
Next time you need a side for an entree, try a kale salad. Dark greens are packed with vitamins such as beta carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E. Beta carotene helps neutralize molecules that form in the body and attack cells, so by getting this nutrient, the body will have a defense mechanism to fight off any illness that you might come into contact with. The darker the greens, the more nutrients there are.
Another vegetable that is high in beta carotene is a sweet potato. Our bodies convert the beta carotene from the sweet potatoes into vitamin A, which helps the immune system, particularly by keeping the mucosal system healthy. By strengthening this membrane, infections will have a more difficult time entering the body. So, next time you're in the dining hall, grab a second helping of those sweet potato fries.
Red bell peppers
It's not commonly known, but red bell peppers are packed with vitamin C. With twice as much vitamin C as oranges, these peppers will help maintain the skin as a barrier against infections and increase antibody protection. They are also a good source of beta carotene and phytochemicals.
Although garlic may not be a favorite, it certainly has the proper nutrients to combat sickness. Garlic contains allicin, which is known for its antibacterial properties that help rid the body of viruses, bacteria and toxins. This vegetable is also known to make sickness less severe, so even though eating an entire garlic whole may not be ideal, next time you feel a cold coming, try putting a few cloves on top of your pizza.
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