Immune-boosting diet: How the right food can increase your immunity

Do Diet: With so many systems to care for (from your bones to your gut to your heart) and flu season right around the corner, it’s time to amp up your defences. Super-eating to the rescue. These nutrient-rich ideas will keep you strong and sniffle-free!
By Madeline Cravit; Consulting dietitian Frances Sheridan Goulart, author of Super Immunity Foods
Immune-boosting diet: How the right food can increase your immunity

Do add grapefruit to your breakfast routine

High in fibre and low in fat, grapefruit is the way to get going first thing. Plus it helps lower bad cholesterol. Bonus: The ascorbic acid found in citrus fruits boosts your body’s ability to absorb iron. Add some grapefruit segments to your spinach salad at lunch to reap even more energizing benefits.

grapefruit, fruit, breakfast

Do eat chicken soup

It’s a fact! Chicken soup is proven to make you feel better due to its anti-inflammatory properties, say researchers at the University of Nebraska. Bonus: Ours also contains immunity power-nutrients thanks to ingredients like garlic, leeks, and oregano.

Cilantro-lime chicken soup


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 6-in. tortilla, cut into bite-sized strips
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 peppers, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp hot-red-chili flakes
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cube chicken bouillon
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed
1 cup frozen corn niblets
1 lime, plus 1 more for wedges
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1. Heat a large, wide pot over medium. Add 2 tsp oil. Add tortilla strips. Cook, stirring frequently, until toasted, 2 to 3 min.

2. Remove to a paper-towel–lined plate. Add remaining 1 tsp oil to pot. Add leek. Cook, stirring frequently, until leek softens slightly, 1 min. Add peppers and celery. Cook until vegetables begin to caramelize, 12 min. Add garlic and cook 1 min.

3. Stir in 3 cups of water and spices. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in bouillon cube until dissolved. Add chicken. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through, 6 min.

4. Remove chicken to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred chicken. Then stir into soup along with corn. Cook until corn is hot, about 2 min. Stir in juice from half a lime, along with cilantro. Serve soup with lime
wedges and garnish with tortilla strips. Soup keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month. If making ahead, stir in cilantro just before serving.

Serves 4

Per serving: 74 calories, 7 g protein, 8 g carbs, 2 g fat, 1 g fibre, 142 mg sodium. Excellent source of vitamin C.

soup, appetizer, chicken soup

Do join the wheat grass movement

Now we know the real reason gym rats like juice bars! This nutritional wonder is packed with immune boosting minerals and vitamins A and C. Plus it nourishes our bodies with over 17 amino acids that are essential to build proteins, restore cells and detoxify the liver.

Make it a habit: Buy plants from the health-food store and do your own juicing at home!

wheat grass, health

Do embrace that garlic breath

It may cost you a few kisses, but this stinky herb is a powerhouse: It combats colds, promotes good-bacteria growth in your gut and neutralizes heavy metals like lead and mercury.

Make it a habit: Add garlic to soups, dressings, chicken or pasta sauce. It goes with everything!

garlic breath, health, benefit, nutrition

Do wash well

Clean produce to remove pesticides and bacteria that may compromise your immune system. “Submerge in 8 cups water with 1 tbsp each hydrogen peroxide and vinegar,” says Goulart. Rinse well and dig in!

wash, health, immunity, cold, flu

Do replace salt with sea veggies

Here’s a smart way to get your savoury fix! Sea vegetables like nori, kelp, and seaweed are great sources of iodine, a key factor in thyroid health, and potassium, a key mineral for strong defences. They’re also rich in vitamin B12 and calcium.

sea veggies, health, food, tips

Do say yes to yogurt

Yogurt tells your immune hubs to produce more antibodies while reducing the growth of bad bacteria inside your gut – by as much as 75 percent! It also helps ease allergies and inflammation, so you can feel good about eating it every day.

yogurt, health, tips, diet, nutrition, immunity, cold, flu

Do love oats

A big bowl of oatmeal does more than just fill you up! Beta-glucan, the cholesterol lowering fibre found in oats, also works to improve your immune response to infection. And it’s known to help fight off heart disease and regulate blood sugar in people with diabetes. So if you must reach for a cookie, pick an oatmeal one, and satisfy your sweet tooth and your body.

oats, health, food, health


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