Kick start your immune system with these fun foods

This year’s milder weather seems to have also brought a milder flu season. But recent reports show that flu rates in the Boston area are rising and the flu will continue to circulate until Spring. Even if your family has had their flu shots, it’s a good idea to keep your immune system in tip-top shape during the flu season! In the past, we’ve written about things you could do, and now we’re sharing with you things you can eat!

  • Yogurt: Some experts consider yogurt to be an excellent “superfood”—and it’s affordable! Yogurt is a great breakfast item or snack because it’s full of probiotics, a helpful bacteria that naturally occurs in our stomachs. Probiotics help our bodies digest food, but also fight off invading viruses and bacteria that can make us sick.
  • Walnuts: Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3s), which experts believe help fight off illnesses. So feel free to sprinkle them on cereal, yogurt, or salads.
  • Citrus fruits: We’ve all heard that Vitamin C helps boost immunity, so keep eating those citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. Make sure to eat the whole fruit and not just drink fruit juices! And if you do drink juice, try not to exceed the daily recommended limit of 4 ounces (one serving) as a part of your daily fruit intake.
  • Bell peppers: Speaking of Vitamin C, bell peppers, particularly red bell peppers, have actually been proven to have even more Vitamin C than citrus fruits. Slice them up and add them to your child’s lunch for a fun, colorful, and healthy snack!
  • Lean meats: Lean meats, like chicken and turkey, are full of protein, which help your body stay strong. They also contain a lot of zinc, which can help your body’s white blood cells fight off germs!

These are just a few of the immunity-boosting foods you and your family can eat to stay healthy. For an easier way to remember, just focus on brightly colored food—these tend to be high in antioxidants that are great immune system boosters. But remember, the healthiest diet is a balanced diet, which includes eating a range of healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. Happy (and healthy) eating!

(Image courtesy of About.com Parenting)

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