Foods to Reach for to Prevent Colds and Flus

(NC) One of the easiest ways to keep your immune system strong is eating healthy foods.

To prevent you and your family from succumbing to cold and flu season, the Canadian Health Food Association recommends the following foods:

Nuts: Whether you add them to your cereal and salads or have them as an afternoon snack, nuts are a good choice for supporting immune function. Cashews and pecans, for example, provide the perfect blend of immune-boosting nutrients, including protein, vitamin E and zinc; while Brazil nuts are high in selenium.

Kimchi. The ancient tradition of fermented food has become increasingly popular in Canada — for good reason. This fermented cabbage dish from Korea is not only rich in vitamins C, E and A, carotenoids and antioxidant enzymes, it's also a healthy whole-food source of probiotics, the good gut bacteria that keep your immune system in check. Kimchi can be an acquired taste, so if you're not sure it's for you, you may want to consider taking a probiotic supplement instead.

Garlic. Over a third of Canadians say they consume garlic to stay healthy during cold and flu season. That's because this member of the allium family is known to reduce cold symptoms and improve immune cell activity. Garlic is delicious in homemade salad dressings, dips or stir fries, but if you're worried about bad breath, try an odourless supplement instead.

Mushrooms. The benefits of reishi mushroom extracts on the immune system are well documented. Available in supplement form, reishi mushrooms have been consumed for thousands of years in Asia as a tea. The process of hot water extraction releases beneficial carbohydrates and fibres that can increase the production of certain white blood cells to help identify and break down invading bugs. And there's nothing more soothing than a hot cup of tea on a cold winter day.

Visit chfa.ca to find your local CHFA Member health food store and stock up today.

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