Five Foods To Boost Your Immune System

Foods To Help Boost Your Immunity

WFMY -- Coughing, sniffling and sneezing: Cold and flu season is back!

Now's the time a lot of folks are getting a flu shot to prepare for the winter ahead. Statistics show up to 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu and other estimates show Americans as a group have 1 billion colds a year.

But you can fend off illness with a few healthy foods.

Nutrition expert Rima Kleiner says the right nutritional mix can charge up your immune system to help ward off cold and flu bugs. Here's her list:

•        Fish (particularly canned salmon and fish) – Contains anti-inflammatory properties that boost immune system via Vitamin D, the B vitamin family and omega-3s
•        Yogurt – Live active cultures (particularly lactobacillus) helps strengthen immune system
•        Wheat germ – Helps to activate T-cells to fight infection with Zinc and antioxidants 
•       Grapefruit –bioflavonoids (phytonutrients) and Vitamin C help boost immune system
•       Cauliflower – Antioxidant glutathione helps fight infection

Start eating! 

Tuna-Yogurt Crostini
This appetizer is rich in protein, omega-3s and beneficial "good" bacteria. It makes a light and tasty starter before a heavy holiday meal.

Makes 20-25 appetizers

¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ tsp. olive oil, plus enough for brushing on bread
Juice of ¼-½ lemon
2 (2.75 oz.) cans or pouches tuna (light or white), drained
¼ red onion, finely chopped
¼ red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. capers
2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped, plus enough for garnish
20-25 slices cocktail-sized pumpernickel or rye bread
Salt and pepper, as desired

Mix together yogurt, mustard, olive oil and lemon juice. Add tuna, onion, bell pepper, capers and dill and mix until combined. Add salt, pepper and more lemon juice, to taste. Spread bread slices on platter and top with tuna mixture. Garnish with chopped or sprigs of fresh dill.

Rosemary Cauliflower Puree
For a twist on mashed potatoes, try this delicious, antioxidant-rich cauliflower puree!

Makes 4 servings

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 clove garlic
2 tsp. olive oil, plus a little for drizzling on top
1 tsp. dried rosemary + a few sprigs for garnish

In a medium pot, steam cauliflower in broth until soft, about 10-15 minutes. Using slotted spoon, place cauliflower in the blender (reserve broth).  Be sure that your blender is heat safe and has an outlet for steam.  Add 1 Tbsp. broth, garlic, olive oil and rosemary. Puree until smooth. If thick, add broth by the tablespoon until desired consistency. Place in serving bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and top with rosemary sprigs.


Caramelized Grapefruit
Grapefruit is rich in vitamin C and immune-boosting phytonutrients. When broiled, the juice from the grapefruit and the cinnamon sugar caramelize. This makes a tantalizing and elegant dessert.

Makes 4 servings.

2 grapefruits, cut in half
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. wheat germ

Preheat oven to broil. Mix cinnamon and sugar. Place grapefruit cut sides up on to the baking sheet. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar evenly on top of grapefruit halves. Top with a sprinkle of wheat germ. Broil until sugar caramelizes, about 5-7 minutes. Can be garnished with vanilla yogurt, whipped cream or mint as desired. 

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