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gingerI don’t feel comfortable getting flu shots and tend to get every little bug that passes through, so I’m already opening doors with my elbow, pressing elevator buttons with my knuckles, and washing my hands every chance I get. I’m also taking acidophilus and extra vitamin C, cutting back on coffee and sugar, and gargling with salt water. Call me a freak-o, but so far, so not felled by illness.

So I was excited to get the list below from a nutritionist on which foods can support us in the getting through flu season by improving digestion and enhancing immunity.

7 Flu-Fighting Foods

by ChicagoHealers.com practitioner Dr. Helen Lee

Keep your digestive system happy. When the digestive system is healthy it is able to breakdown and access nutrients from the foods you eat, it is better able to get rid of toxicity, and process “bad” bugs such as bacteria & viruses

Ginger: The volatile oils in ginger warm the body, helping the body to sweat, break a fever and eliminate toxins. Ginger also stimulates mucous release. Ginger is also a metabolic enhancer and the warming also helps with nausea, is a great digestive aid, lung and chest decongesting, and a body cleansing herb. Add fresh ginger to your food or in tea, or eat alone. Ginger tea (especially combined with honey) helps too sooth the throat.

Garlic: Garlic has allicin as an active ingredient giving it antiviral and antibacterial properties. Garlic cleans your liver (which cleans your blood) since your blood cycles through your liver every three minutes. So thereby stimulating the white blood cells and in turn boosting the immune system. An onion garlic syrup can help with mucous release.

Honey: Honey acts as a natural antibiotic with antiseptic properties. There are vitamins such as B-complexes, C, D, E, minerals enzymes and propolis. The propolis in honey boosts the immune system, disables viruses and fights infections. Furthermore, pediatric studies have shown that honey is more effective than cough syrup because it coats the throat better. Locally grown honey is best for seasonal allergies, asthma and respiratory conditions because you are treating with the irritants that are common to your area. Take a tablespoon 4 times per day, taken straight or in tea.

Cayenne: Cayenne pepper has a high vitamin C content making it a natural choice for a cold, as well as vitamin A, B, calcium and potassium. Cayenne also increases the circulation in the body. You may take in capsule form taking 2 – 40,000 heat units (950mg), or liquid 4 drops of the 200,000 heat units. Place a few drops in water and gargle with it every 15-30 minutes to make a sore throat disappear.

Fermented Foods: Increase “good” bacteria such as acidophilus and bifidus which can be found yogurt or kefir.

Leafy Greens: Eat dark leafy green vegetables like kale, swiss chard, and spinach provides vitamins B12, folic acid, potassium, vitamins A, C & K which supports a healthy immune system.

Lemon: Keep your internal acid/alkaline chemistry balanced by squeezing a half lemon into a cup of hot water to break up congestion, stimulate digestion, and create an alkaline or healing pH chemistry in the body.

[Image via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginger]

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