5 Immune Boosting Foods for this Winter
Poor nutrition, stress, and lack of sleep can take a significant toll on our immune system, but eating right, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and practicing proper food safety can give our immune system the tools it needs to work optimally. As you look to stay healthy this holiday season, here are few healthy practices to protect and strengthen your immune system:
- Be active. Gradually build up to about 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise most days of the week to help reduce your risk of getting a cold, flu, or certain illnesses.
- Take time to rest. Plan for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can wear down your body and suppress your immune system.
- Remember food safety! Follow proper food safety practices by cooking and storing food properly to help reduce your risk of foodborne illnesses.
- Stay hydrated. Water is one of the body’s most essential nutrients and the cornerstone of all body functions. Aim for 64 ounces of plain water per day.
In addition, consider adding these 5 immune boosting foods to your Medifast plan!
- Tea- Tea provides disease-fighting antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals in the body, and sipping on a hot cup of tea may help reduce stress. You can enjoy any unsweetened tea you like; white, green, or black tea—it doesn’t matter! Just be mindful of your caffeine intake, particularly in the afternoon and evening, to ensure a good night’s rest.
- Broccoli- Broccoli is a potent source of vitamin A, which regulate the immune system and protects your body from infections by keeping skin and internal tissues healthy. A ½ cup of cooked or raw broccoli = 1 green serving for the lean and green meal. Add this nutrient-packed vegetable to salads, soups, casseroles, and stir-fries; the options are endless!
- Chicken Breast- There’s a reason chicken soup is a go-to food when you’re not feeling well. It’s fairly bland and provides several healthful nutrients, such as vitamin B6, which plays a critical role in how our immune system functions. Make your own chicken soup by using zucchini “noodles” in place of regular noodles, or enjoy a piping hot bowl of Medifast Chicken Flavored Noodle Soup!
- Low-fat, plain Greek Yogurt- Yogurt is a good source of protein (especially Greek yogurt), which plays a role in the body’s defense mechanism. Yogurt also supplies probiotics, or “good bacteria,” which may help ease the severity of colds. On the Medifast program, 12 oz. of low-fat, plain Greek yogurt = 1 leaner as part of the lean and green meal.
- Nuts & Seeds- Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein, fiber, vitamin E, and zinc, nutrients that support a healthy immune system. A 1/3 oz. of nuts or seeds counts as 1 healthy fat on the Medifast program. You can incorporate them into your lean and green meal (they go great on salads!) or add them to a Medifast Meal, such as the Medifast Oatmeals.