Now’s not the time to get sick! Don’t you agree? Consider these three tips to boost your immune defense!
Lessen the Sniffles: Vitamin C and Zinc
Vitamin C is found in many fresh fruits and veggies. Before you reach for the supplements however, limited research associates vitamin C with reduced cold symptoms only after the symptoms appear. While it’s unknown if taking vitamin C supplements will actually prevent a cold, it doesn’t hurt to boost your intake of vitamin C-containing foods, especially if you’re starting to sniffle more frequently. Foods high in vitamin C include most fresh fruits and veggies, especially citrus fruits, berries, and tomatoes. Aside from including these into your meals and snacks, squeeze some lemon into your water and pare your choices with foods high in zinc, which may help to shorten the length of colds. Zinc is found naturally in foods such as shellfish, meat, chicken, beef, and fortified breakfast cereals.
The Power of Probiotics
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, we can also arm our immune system with a strong gut microbiome. Probiotics are the healthy organisms (think of them as friendly bacteria) living along our digestive tract. Emergent research associates our gut bacteria with countless benefits, including their role in immunity. Food sources of probiotics include yogurt, kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Here’s the catch: you’ll want to supply probiotics with their own food source in order to promote their growth. Prebiotics are fibers from all plant-based foods that supply energy for probiotics. Some specific foods containing prebiotics include apples, barley, flaxseeds, onions, garlic, oats, bananas, grains (like bulgur and wheat berries), leeks, and leafy greens.
Before reaching for the supplements, consider the role that a varied diet plays in building immunity. Check out my tips in Dance Teacher Magazine to learn about how dancers can get a spectrum of great nutrients into their day. Eating a variety of foods, especially plant-based foods, provides us with powerful nutrients to help battle the cold. This is the best way to arm your immunity, especially during these next few (shivery!) months.