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10 Foods to Kick a Cold and Boost Immunity

Fall Seasonal Veggies including some of your fall seasonal favorites! 

Here are ten foods that can you can easily add to your diet to help you beat a cold and boost your immunity.   Why not pick up several on your next shopping trip?  Experts see synergy when you start putting multiple foods together and the effects are multiplied. 

Yogurt can be delicious layered with fruit in a parfait or as a cooling side for a dish of spicy food, but it also packs a healthy dose of good bacteria -- also called probiotics.  Studies have shown eating yogurts rich in them can lead to an improved immune response by increasing the body's white blood cell count. Probiotics are found in yogurts with live or active cultures -- the lactobacillus and bifidobacterium strains.

Traditional kefir is similar to yogurt but cultured with special kefir grains, so it contains slightly different bacteria. Kefir also contains good yeasts that help fight off pathogenic yeasts in the body.

This rich, flavorful spice has been used for centuries as part of Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicines, in addition to being used for cooking. Turmeric is found in every yellow curry, and its golden color is the result of curcumin, a polyphenol with strong cold and flu-fighting properties.  A study also found that curcumin prevents some immune cells from responding to stimulants and so has modulating and anti-inflammatory effects. The powder has antiseptic qualities when applied topically and often is used on cuts, burns and bruises.

Much of the immune-boosting properties of garlic come from its sulfur-containing compounds, which also give the bulb its aroma, particularly one called allicin. These compounds are effective against bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections. They also enhance the immune system and have anti-tumor and antioxidant features, which help guard cells from everyday wear and tear.

Oregano has among the highest level of  antioxidant compounds of all herbs.  The antioxidant activity in oregano is due to its high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids, color compounds that are also anti-inflammatory. When eaten, oregano can protect against the common cold, influenza, fevers and indigestion.
Topically, oregano has antimicrobial properties, guarding against bacteria. Scientists have plans to tap this property by using oregano to create thin wraps for covering fresh food to protect it from spoiling.

Red Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are both low in calories and dense in nutrients. They are a good source of phytochemicals as well as beta carotenes and vitamin C.  Gram for gram, red bell peppers have twice the vitamin C of most vitamin C-containing fruits and vegetables, including oranges.  Research shows that increasing vitamin C intake can reduce the length of time cold symptoms last as well as reduce the severity of those symptoms. Vitamin C may also help to increase white blood cell count as well as antibody production. Vitamin C is known to maintain the skin, which is the body's first line of defense against microbes and viruses of all kinds.

Green Tea
Tea is rich in polyphenols -- plant antioxidants -- as well as a number of other chemicals that can help protect the body against cold or flu. Green tea has undergone minimal oxidation during drying and processing, and studies highlight a compound called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, as a powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer agent. EGCGs inhibit the growth of cancer cells without harming healthy tissues and can inhibit a virus' ability to replicate, which may offer an offensive strategy for preventing a cold, as well as improving the body's overall immune response.

Pumpkins are emblematic of "the beta carotene season" when abundant orange fall vegetables such as squashes, carrots and sweet potatoes,   Their rich, orange flesh is packed with beta carotene, and the more intense the color, the higher the levels. The body breaks down beta carotene to make vitamin A, that helps proteins that regulate cell-to-cell communication - the foundation of the immune system. Vitamin A also aids in cancer prevention, because cell-to-cell communication breakdown is one of the primary causes of cancer. Research suggests that vitamin A benefits the respiratory system healthy.  Experts caution against too much vitamin A and eating beta-carotene-rich foods may be safer than taking a vitamin A supplement directly.

Ginger contains a compound called gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. When it is dried, ginger contains less gingerol and more shoagol, an anti-inflammatory agent.  Ginger has also been shown to reduce nausea and vomiting, making it a very useful food to have around when you have the flu.

Oysters have a high zinc content that is necessary for the production of testosterone  which is one of the most important hormones behind the human sex drive for both men and women.  Zinc is also very good at protecting the body against colds and flu. Zinc functions in more enzymatic reactions than any other mineral, making it indispensable to the immune system. Lean meats such as beef, chicken and seafood are the best sources of zinc. Some options for getting zinc into a vegetarian diet include pumpkin seeds and beans.

Broccoli has extremely potent antioxidant compounds and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and E.  In addition, broccoli is high in glucosinolates which stimulate the body's immune system, and a high concentration of sulforaphanes, which are potent anti-cancer agents.

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