7 Foods that Prevent Winter Illnesses

(Recycled from the Wimberly Newsletter – if you would like to subscribe to our newsletter, visit our facebook page and click on the “Signup Form” under Apps.)

I know you have a lot going on this winter, and getting sick doesn’t help anything. You may have noticed that those around you have already started to coughing, maybe contracting something like strep, bronchitis, or the flu. Incorporate these foods to help ward off those pesky bugs (and remember to keep exercising!).

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Fatty fish are a good source of Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids. Chances are you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D in the winter (since you live in the Pacific Northwest). Vitamin D helps the body fight off colds and fights off depression. A 3-ounce sockeye salmon fillet contains about 450 international units (IUs) of vitamin D—a good portion of the 600 IUs that is the Institute of Medicine’s recommended dietary allowance (800 IUs if you’re over 70). Omega-3 intake also aid in production of infection-fighting cells that can help protect against certain infections. Salmon can be a great holiday dish!

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A daily dose of probiotics reduces the risk of catching a cold or flu by 27 percent. Look for Greek yogurt with live cultures. Fage (pronounced “fa-yeh”) is the best option. It contains no milk protein concentrate, is high in quality protein, no thickeners in plain varieties, no rbST, many full fat and low fat options (go full fat – it will help prevent those cravings for sweets!).

Green Tea
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Instead of coffee (or at least your second cup), brew some green tea. It contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which can damage influenza virus particles and stop them from entering your system and interfere with pneumonia-causing bacteria.

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Another source of probiotic, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi reduce the potency of strep bacteria. They help control inflammation while slowing bacterial growth. Give your sandwiches a kick by layering on King’s Kimchi or Gold Mine’s Organic Raw Sauerkraut.

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Fresh ginger can inhibit the viruses that cause the common cold, bronchiolitis and pneumonia from attaching to cells and may reduce its ability to replicate. It also reduces pain and inflammation and stimulates circulation. Grate some ginger in hot water for a spicy tea or add it to your next stir fry or soup.

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Honey’s thick consistency helps coat the throat while the sweet taste is believed to trigger nerve endings that protect the throat from incessant coughing. A study in the journal Microbiology found that when colonies of the strep throat bug were treated with manuka honey, the bacteria count fell by up to 85 percent. It may also inhibit forms of staph, pneumonia, and salmonella. It is also loaded with antioxidants that help prevent cellular damage and can help with sleep. Add it to your tea or yogurt.

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Rosemary contains the antiviral ingredient carnosic acid, which helps shield your body from respiratory syncytial virus. It also helps reduce inflammation, relieve pain, protects the immune system, and detoxes the body. It’s been used as a natural remedy for upset stomachs, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and everything in between. Start sprinkling it on your chicken, potatoes, and soups.

Stay well this season!

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