Cold and flu season is tough, and you may need help to make it through unscathed. Whether you’re hunkered down on the couch with a case of the sniffles, or just trying to avoid any sick days, these easy ways to add immunity boosters to your meals may help keep you healthy.
Long part of Eastern medicine traditions, this spice contains a component called curcumin which can help decrease inflammation. This antioxidant may help soothe inflammation caused by symptoms like sore throat and stuffy nose. Spoonfuls of turmeric may also help shorten the length of a cold by bolstering the immune system.
If you can find fresh turmeric root (similar to ginger root) in a store’s produce department, snatch it up. As with most foods, the whole plant contains the most potent components, but the dry, powdered spice is a powerful alternative. Add turmeric to a wide variety of drinks and dishes: your morning mango smoothie, cinnamon oatmeal with raisins, chicken noodle soup or cooked greens will all benefit from the flavor of this vibrant orange spice. Roasted vegetables or orange vegetables pair perfectly with turmeric. It’s an ingredient in most curries and also adds warm, earthly flavors to eggs and fish.
Yes, really. This sustainable fish packs loads of healthy omega-3 fats (1100-1600 mg per serving) into its small size. These EPA and DHA fats may help decrease inflammation during colds. Sardines also contain the nutrient selenium which is essential for immunity. And a single serving of sardines contains over 27% of the daily recommendation for vitamin D, another immunity booster.
Look for trendy tins of sardines in the canned seafood aisle. Sardines taste similar to light tuna with a touch more salt. Add fork-mashed sardines to almost any dish in place of salt. They meld deliciously into red pasta sauces. Hearty soups and stews are a good match for the salty flavor of sardines. And don’t forget the old-school sardine sandwich, served open-faced on dark rye; it’s a perfect way to embrace the rising food trend of Scandinavian eats.
A one-cup serving of frozen red raspberries contains 60% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. This antioxidant helps quench damaging free radicals produced when flu viruses invade the body; it is key in supporting the immune system. Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, berry expert and director of the Center for Nutrition Research at Illinois Institute of Technology explains that blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are rich sources a variety of bioactives including anthocyanins and other flavonoid compounds, as well as essential oils and antimicrobials which support a healthy immune system in a variety of ways.
Frozen berries are picked and flash frozen at the peak of ripeness and nutrition, thus frozen berries are an excellent way to get the most nutrients from your berries. Top oatmeal and yogurt parfaits with berries. Berries and flavored vinegar are delicious partners in sauces like in Raspberry Chicken or a green salad.
Serena Ball, MS, RD is a food writer and registered dietitian nutritionist. She blogs at TeaspoonOfSpice.com sharing tips and tricks to help families find healthy living shortcuts. Follow her @TspCurry on Twitter and Snapchat.
*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.