Flu season is almost upon us and we're still dealing with a pandemic. So, our immune systems are fixing to take a beating this winter and we need to do everything we can to prepare ourselves.
Outside of getting your zinc, vitamin d and vitamin c, here's one big thing you can do to keep your immune system healthy during flu season. Change up your diet to help boost your immune system by incorporating these five antiviral foods!
Oregano is an excellent spice to add citrusy bites and earthy tones to any dish. It also supports a healthy immune system. This herb produces high levels of carvacrol. Carvacrol fights fire against fire with viruses.
The way viruses work is that they infiltrate our cell membranes. They use our membranes as homes where the virus can replicate its DNA and change yours.
Carvacrol finds viruses and changes their RNA. RNA is what is used to create DNA. So, carvacrol shuts things down before it begins.
This powerful compound did just that in studies with the viral infection, nonenveloped murine norovirus (MNV). MNV is a precursor to noroviruses. So, be liberal with oregano on your next pizza!
Get the most antiviral benefits from this herb by purchasing oregano oil. These highly concentrated extracts are rich in antioxidants that will help keep your respiratory system clear from viral attacks.
Diffuse oregano oil in your room for a couple of hours per day during the flu season. It will help purify the air and promote a more robust immune system. If the scent is too strong, try offsetting the aroma with more immune-boosting oils, like lemon, orange, and peppermint.
If it’s strong enough to keep vampires away, it has to be good for fighting off germs. A meta-analysis of garlic’s therapeutic benefits pointed to various studies where garlic was used to fight microbial activity.
Researchers noted that garlic inhibited the spread of:
- Influenza A
- Influenza V
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Herpes Simplex Virus 1
- Herpes Simplex Virus 2
- Viral Pneumonia
Experts credited ajoene, allicin, and diallyl trisulfide for this culinary staple’s antioxidant-like behavior. These aren’t readily available in many foods. So, be sure to add some more garlic to your stir-fries and sauces. Just make sure you don’t kiss your spouse right after!
If you’re getting garliced out, tag in onion for some relief. They are both members of the allium family and contain similar compounds. Onions are also a significant source of quercetin. This antioxidant has antiviral properties and can also help suppress allergic reactions caused by seasonal changes.
Viruses are microbes and are regularly found in our microbiome. They are extremely disruptive to the host (us). That doesn’t bode well for other microbes in your system. So, it’s in their best interest to get rid of viruses upon sight.
Our gut bacteria are our primary protectors. In fact, they have a symbiotic relationship with our immune system. Over 80% of our immune system cells reside within our gut microbiome!
Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotic bacteria. Probiotic bacteria produce metabolites that fight inflammation and promote healthy cell production. Therefore, stomach bacteria help create immune system cells and stop them from becoming overworked.
Pro Tip: A yogurt bowl is the perfect way to add more immune-boosting foods to your meal. For instance, citrus fruits and berries are excellent sources of Vitamin C and other antioxidants. As we learned at the beginning of the pandemic, adequate Vitamin C levels can help ease the unfavorable symptoms experienced by COVID-19.
A lifetime of poor diet can weaken our gut barrier, which leaves us prone to pathogenic infections springing up from the small intestine. Olive fruits and leaves are excellent sources of healthy fats and antioxidants.
Healthy fats found in olive fruits and oils help us repair damaged gut linings. They also improve nutrient absorption. That’s key for all the extra Vitamin C you’ll be taking this flu season.
Don’t forget about olive leaves! Olive leaf extract contains an abundance of the compound oleuropein.
Research on oleuropein found that it can improve symptoms associated with respiratory syntactical virus and parainfluenza type 3 virus. These findings are very promising after the year of respiratory infections the human race has just endured!
NOTE: Don’t heat your olive oil too high! Olive oil has a smoking point of 375 - 400 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, chemical reactions begin to happen. These combustions alter the other compounds found in the oil. As a result, you may consume some potential carcinogens.
Did somebody mention stir-fry? Throw in some shiitake mushrooms. Like gut bacteria, fungi are also microbes. These particular fungi exhibit potent antimicrobial activity.
One study found that shiitake mushrooms increased levels of secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) in the body. sIgA is a fierce antibody that protects the cell membrane. That’s a tall task, especially considering that’s where viruses hide out.
Shiitake mushrooms also improve interactions at the gut barrier. It prevents unnecessary digestive movements that allow pathogens from the small intestine access to the gut.
Remember, that’s where the immune system cells are, and these helpful cells can become compromised by a bacterial attack!
Try An Immune Supplement
Eating mushrooms not your thing? Try taking a supplement. In fact, Nutretics Greens & Reds contains a unique nutrient blend that helps support your immune system all year round.
This proprietary supplement contains some of the other top antiviral foods, including a mix of greens, veggies, fruits, berries, phytonutrients and fiber all proven to help support the immune system.
Nutretics’ Greens & Reds is further fortified by a variety of digestive support ingredients that are also proven to assist a healthy immune system.
All of these ingredients and more will keep you healthy through flu season and into next year with Nutretics’ Greens & Reds!