Cold and flu season are almost here and for millions of Americans, it will be a season full of sniffles, coughs and runny noses. In addition to the physical discomfort, being stricken with a cold or the flu can also affect other areas of your life, such as causing you to miss work or school and being unable to keep up with the demands of family life and daily activities. If you are a frequent cold or flu sufferer who would like to enjoy better health, the following tips provide some great options to help you boost your immune system and reduce your risk of catching a cold or the flu.
Get Your Cs and Ds
While Vitamin C intake has long been known to help in resisting or lessening the severity of cold and flu symptoms, many people are surprised to discover that Vitamin D is also helpful. Vitamin C works because it is has a potent anti-viral action capable of destroying or weakening the viruses that cause the common cold. Vitamin C supplements can be helpful, but eating foods rich in this amazing vitamin can offer can provide other important nutrients and benefits, as well. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C include:
- red and green sweet peppers
- citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruits
- fruit and vegetable juices, especially orange, grapefruit, tomato and vegetable juice cocktail drinks
While Vitamin D lacks the anti-viral action of Vitamin C, it is now thought to be effective against influenza on a cellular level, with people who have low levels of this vitamin less able to resist falling ill due to the flu. While the optimal way to increase Vitamin D levels in the body is through sun exposure, eating foods that are rich in this important vitamin can be very helpful, as well. Vitamin D rich foods include:
- some varieties of fish, including salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines
- orange juice, cereal, yogurt and milk that are fortified with Vitamin D
- beef liver
- egg yolks
Another excellent source of Vitamin D that was relied on by your grandparent's generation and is regaining popularity is cod liver oil. One tablespoon of this potent oil contains 1,360 International Units, or IUs, compared to the 447 IUs found in three ounces of sockeye salmon.
Consider Immune Boosting Supplements
In addition to the health benefits of eating foods with high levels of vitamins and nutrients, utilizing supplements that contain optimal formulas of vitamins, minerals, and other healthful ingredients can be some of the best immune system boosters to help your body resist getting sick during the cold and flu season. Remember to check with your health professional before making any major changes to your dietary habits or using any OTC supplement or product.