February 22, 2017 0200 GMT
From spending more time indoors to greater exposure to unfamiliar germs through travel, the winter months are a critical time to up your defenses against infection, foxnews.com reported.
Hand washing, flu and pneumonia shots and adequate rest are key to protecting yourself from diseases — and why not up your nutrition defenses as well?
Read on for some foods to start eating today to help keep your immune system in top shape.
Fatty fish: Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in the immune system, and one way to load up on this hard-to-find nutrient is through fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies.
In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, fish contains protein, vitamin B-6, and iron — important nutrients to keep you healthy.
To help reach the recommended two to three servings of fish a week for good health, stock up on cans of fatty fish — just one serving of Bumble Bee Omega-3 albacore tuna contains 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fortified milks: Usually the last thing you want when you have a cold is something milk-based, but making fortified milks (such as cow’s milk, soy milk, and rice milk fortified with vitamin D) part of your diet might help keep away colds in the first place.
A 2017 study published in the journal Antiviral Research looked at bronchial epithelial cells — an important protective cell in your respiratory tract — and found that vitamin D increased the ability to defend against attacking viruses.
Pumpkin seeds: A nutritional powerhouse wrapped up in a very small package, pumpkin seeds offer important nutrients like magnesium, protein, and zinc.
While there remains some debate about what role zinc plays in the immune response to colds, there is some agreement that it is more effective when available at the very beginning of illness.
A one-ounce serving of pumpkin seeds (about a handful) provides 19 percent of your recommended daily requirement of zinc. Try adding pumpkin seeds to your cereal in the morning, sprinkle some on your salad, or eat them for a snack.
Citrus fruits: It is a happy coincidence that citrus fruits are at their best when we might need them most: In the winter months.
An excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, consider adding some mandarin oranges or grapefruit to your daily snack rotation — one medium Halo has just 50 calories and provides 45 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.
Honey: For thousands of years, honey has been known across cultures for its impressive medicinal properties.
Use some honey in the morning to sweeten your yogurt, or try stirring it into some tea if you feel that telltale scratchiness in the back of your throat coming on.