Are you guilty of taking pain relief medications whenever the flu hits? You may actually consider seeing a doctor out of concern but the majority of time; you get on with your day.
What if there was a simple and effective way to combat germs naturally and make you feel better through small changes in your diet?
You have to eat no matter what, right?
What if your focus becomes on the quality of what you put in your mouth instead of the quantity?
Nutrition is crucial to boost your immune system and healthy foods exist for that main reason.
During the flu season, you may find remaining healthy through eating well is challenging.
This is where a good nutrition comes into play.
What is a good nutrition?
Simply put, good nutrition means the maintenance of a bare minimum level of nourishment to function properly during the day.
This happens when you are getting enough nutrients from all groups of foods (i.e. Fruits and vegetables, protein and grains).
It is crucial to find foods and beverages that you can enjoy so that micronutrients are making their way into your body.
Taking care of your immune system and your body should not be difficult.
You can easily do that by buying a variety of nutrient-dense foods that are in-season.
You want to make sure you are supporting your body’s basic functions through a good balance of protein, plant-based foods (i.e. fruits and vegetables, raw, cooked or juiced/blended in a smoothie) and healthy fats (i.e. olive oil, avocados, etc.) for an adequate calorie intake.
Key nutrients to combat germs naturally
Here are some key nutrients to protect you from the flu and help combat even the most stubborn germs naturally.
Potassium and magnesium
When your muscles cramp, there is a big chance you are missing nutrients such as Potassium and/or Magnesium or it could be a combination of a lack of these nutrients and dehydration.
These cramps usually don’t last longer than a few minutes since that is your body’s way to communicate.
Potassium and magnesium can be found in foods such as avocados, leafy greens, bananas, cocoa powder, nuts and seeds and fish.
They are both important minerals and if not treated, a deficiency can cause serious health issues such as blood pressure and heart problems.
Carbohydrates and Iron
Ever feel an exaggerated fatigue, that does not go away with some extra sleep?
Maybe you are lacking carbohydrates and/or iron when accompanied by lightheadedness.
You can try upping your carbs intake by focusing on healthy carbs such as grains and fruits.
When it’s an iron deficiency, you can eat foods rich in iron such as dark leafy greens, and all types of meats including liver.
Oysters are another iron rich food if you can stand them!
For women, these symptoms could be caused by a pregnancy or heavy periods.
Vitamin B12 and Folate (Vitamin B9)
Are you dealing with mood swings and irritability?
You may be lacking the B12 and/or B9 vitamins.
These vitamins are essential to a normal brain function and the nervous system. Given the role of B12 in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine, a lack could affect your mood, your emotions as well as your sleeping patterns.
Vitamins B9 and B12 work together to support your immune function and improve your mood.
You can eat sardines, clams, eggs, liver and dairy (if no sensitivities) to get more of this vitamin
Protein and biotin
If you’re struggling with thinning and brittle hair and nails that break easily, you may be lacking protein and/or biotin.
Protein is the most important building block for the optimal maintenance of your body and beautiful looking hair, skin and nails (which reflect a healthy body).
Biotin is one of the B complex vitamins that helps the body convert food into energy and is also necessary for beautiful looking hair, skin and nails.
To make sure you are getting enough protein and Biotin from your diet, you need to consume animal and/or plant-based protein.
Whether it is animal or plant proteins, both help your antibodies (i.e. immune system cells) function well and fight off disease and infection.
How about you make a type of protein the star of your dish and supply your body with a reliable source of protein and biotin that’ll make your immune system stronger and help combat tough germs.
It is recommended to eat protein within 30 minutes of high intensity exercise in order for the muscles to properly recover.
Ever heard of free radicals?
Well they are everywhere and they aim for your body’s cells to survive (i.e. through a process called oxidation).
This means that when these free radicals enter your body they will do a lot of damage to your body’s functioning and your overall health.
Antioxidants exist to defend your cells by providing a barrier.
You can easily find them in a variety of fruits and vegetables (i.e. Pomegranates and berries have higher concentrations), meats, nuts, grains and fresh and dry herbs.
Pomegranates and grapes are rich with polyphenols.
This antioxidant is so powerful for your immune system.
It combats free radicals and promotes a healthy heart and healthy aging.
Next time you go grocery shopping, make sure to pick up some pomegranates as they are in season
Beta Carotene and Vitamin A
Actually, vitamin A is derived from Beta Carotene and it is an antioxidant that protects cells from oxidation (cell damage caused by free radicals).
The body needs vitamin A to support the immune system function and to maintain a strong eye sight and vision.
Who likes Brussel Sprouts? Not me 😉
Well, guess what? They are rich in Vitamin C.
This vitamin is crucial for a strong immune system, wound healing and most importantly iron absorption.
It can also be effective in fighting colds.
Foods such as kiwis, strawberries, red peppers, tomatoes, lemons, limes and oranges contain high amounts of Vitamin C.
It is better to consume these foods raw as vitamin C evaporates easily when exposed to high temperatures.
The best way to absorb this vitamin (since the body can’t make it) is by juicing and/or blending your fruits and vegetables.
What can you do?
While the best way to remain healthy is to provide your body with a complete nutrition to combat germs naturally, there are other things you can do to protect yourself this flu season and keep the germs at bay.
You can also try to stay hydrated and get enough sleep every night.
If you find that you are still getting sick even after following these guidelines, you may want to consider the flu shot.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this post, and if you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments box below and I’ll be glad to get back to you.
Enjoy your day!