We have the ingredients for superfood juice, snacks, and meals that may just get you through the flu season this year.
The seasons are changing and the flu is about to start going around.
Fortunately, the flu shot, ill-advised antibacterial lotion, or taking radical measures (like deciding to live in a bubble) are not your only options. Superfoods could help boost your immune system naturally, giving your body the tools it needs to fight off most illnesses.
Your body is smart and generally knows how to heal itself, but just as a car runs better on the right kind of oil - and underperforms when you use the wrong one- your body works better when you feed it the food it needs the most.
An immunity superfood juice could help you stay ahead of the flu season.
Either by completely avoiding a cold or by lessening the symptoms if you do catch one, while also improving your recovery. Fortify your system with the best superfoods for a healthy immune response.
We talk a lot about “superfoods,” but what are superfoods in the first place? What are considered superfoods? Do they wear a cape? How can you identify them?
Superfood is a non-medical term that is attributed to natural foods that have multiple potential health-promoting and supporting properties rooted in their nutritional power. Remarkable antioxidant levels, vitamins, micronutrients, or anti-inflammatory effects, earn a fruit, plant, herb, or root the superfood moniker.
Additionally, versatile antibacterial, antimicrobial, or antifungal capacities are also considered factors when labeling something a “superfood.” Not all heroes wear capes.
The best superfoods have multiple potential health benefits and support your body’s natural ability to detox, fight diseases, age gracefully, produce collagen, etc.
Some of the best superfoods have been used in natural and herbal medicine for centuries and are being studied by modern medicine today - there’s more to superfood juice than just a fancy name.
The online Merriam-Webster dictionary, in its definition, suggests that “superfoods increase energy and vitality, regulate cholesterol and blood pressure and may help to prevent or fight cancer and other diseases.”
Fortunately, many of the best superfoods are readily available at your local health food store and can be added to your regular meals or mixed in superfood juice or smoothie.
The idea of a superfood juice to prevent colds and boost the immune system is not new; historically, societies around the world have prepared teas, soups, tinctures, and juice mixes to defend the body against disease. Research shows those who did were onto something.
A well-functioning immune system is crucial to provide a good defense against invading organisms and to tolerate non-threatening ones, in addition to food and the body itself.
The immune system works by:
The foods that boost immunity support the body’s natural ability to identify, seek, and destroy potential threats. A superfood juice won’t eliminate a cold. Instead, its ingredients would help activate and bolster the mechanisms that already exist in your system.
You probably thought that Vitamin C would be the #1 ingredient in a superfood juice or meal to fight a cold. But recent evidence points to Zinc as the unsung hero in this seasonal fight:
Showing that “Zinc supplementation increases cellular components of innate immunity (e.g., phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils, natural killer cell activity, and generation of oxidative burst.)”
Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, and beans are good sources. Try having one 1 cup of cooked lentils (28.32%) sprinkled with some hemp, squash, pumpkin, or flax seeds.
If not plant-based lean meats and shellfish could be another option. All may enjoy nuts and dark chocolate! Dark chocolate has the health benefits of cocoa and 3.3mg of Zinc (30% RDI) per 100gr of 70-85% dark chocolate.
1 cup of cashew milk, 1 cup of spinach, 1 green apple, 1 slice of ginger, ½ Tbsp of flax/hemp/pumpkin seeds.
Vitamin C is a well-documented immune system booster aid against the common cold and influenza virus. Research suggests that regular Vitamin C supplementation (1 to 2 g/day) reduces the duration of the common cold in adults by 8% and in children by 14%, as well as the severity.
Additionally, Vitamin C reportedly helps prevent the damages and replication of the influenza viruses, when its concentration is “sufficiently high at the initial stage of viral infection.”
When Vitamin C is combined with Zinc, “the supplementation may shorten the duration of colds by approximately 33%.”
The current recommended daily intake (% RDI) for Vitamin C is 90mg. Mix guavas, kiwi, blueberries, acerola cherries, strawberries, oranges, and papaya. Or choose to eat broccoli, kale, bell peppers, tomatoes, and snow peas.
½ Cup acerola cherries (822mg of vitamin C), 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks juice of 1 lime, ½ green apple, a handful of parsley.
According to research, ginger has been reported as one of “the natural remedies for swine flu prevention.” The active compounds in ginger allicin, alliin, and ajoene have been reported to have anti-influenza cytokines. This makes it an excellent addition to your regular meals and drinks.
Stir fry Vitamin C-rich vegetables like kale, add cashews for Zinc, mix in half ½ Tbsp of turmeric, and 1 Tbsp of grated ginger. Add to a warm and garlicky lentil soup in winter.
¼ Cup fresh ginger, 1 Tbsp turmeric, 1 cup of orange juice, 1 carrot, 1 tsp of coconut oil (to absorb the turmeric) and top with 1 tsp of honey or agave nectar if you find it too strong.
Curcumin, the active compound in Curcuma longa (turmeric), reportedly has strong antioxidant content, in addition to anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Studies indicate that curcumin has anti-influenza activity against influenza viruses PR8, H1N1, and H6N1. The results showed “more than 90% reduction in virus yield in cell culture using 30 μM of curcumin.”
¼ Cup fresh ginger, 1 Tbsp turmeric, 1 cup of orange juice, 1 carrot, 1 tsp of honey or agave nectar if you find it too strong.
Beta-Glucans or Glucans are a type of soluble fiber called polysaccharides found in some healthy bacteria and mushrooms. According to a growing body of evidence, they may increase immune defenses by “activating the complement system, enhancing macrophages and natural killer cell function.”
In animal studies, Beta Glucans showed the potential to enhance the immune response against the influenza virus, and could also be an excellent ally to fight colds.
Beta-glucans are available in many whole grains, oats and barley seem to contain the highest amount. Certain mushrooms like reishi, shiitake, oyster, and shimeji are also excellent sources. Stir fry your favorite mix or add them to a mushroom and barley soup.
Adding 1 cup or ½ a cup of oats to your smoothie could help you get more beta-glucans in your diet.
Research indicates that the active compound in garlic Allium Sativum could enhance the immune system by stimulating certain cell types such as macrophages, lymphocytes, and natural killer (NK) cells” among others.
These are the “seek and destroy” cells of the immune system and some studies show that garlic extract may inhibit the influenza virus penetration and proliferation.
You can add garlic to pretty much anything; it’s one of the best superfoods out there, although we wouldn’t really add it to a superfood juice - so we’ll skip that one. However, you can try a ginger and garlic soup like this one by The Creative Plate, which is both hearty and healing.
In the examples of superfoods, probiotics don’t always make the list; probiotics are not actually food. Nevertheless, foods with probiotics and probiotic supplements could improve your chances of resisting, fighting, and recovering from a cold and the influenza virus - so they definitely make this list.
Research shows that probiotics help regulate the functions of systemic and mucosal immune cells, intestinal epithelial cells, and strengthen the immune response. Additional studies indicate that they significantly improved the protective markers against the H1N1 virus.
Both the common cold and influenza virus (the flu) affect millions of Americans every year. Preventative medicine with nutrition, exercise, hydration, and your favorite superfood juice could help you stay ahead of the curve, boosting your immune system so you can avoid getting sick or recover faster.
After this post you’ll be able to answer what are superfoods, the best superfoods to fight colds and the flu, and share examples of superfoods and meals others can make - so tell a friend! We’re in this together.
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