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Day 8: 3 Favorite Immune Boosting Foods

When fighting a cold or defending yourself against a nasty virus, your immune system is called into action.  Your immune system is a complex fighting machine that includes several different types of cells that identify and attack invaders, such as viruses, bacteria and parasites.  These cells need our support!

When writing out your grocery list this week, here are 3 immune supporting foods I recommend you add to your list. Although there are several other foods that can also boost your immune fighting cells, I like these 3 foods because they can last for days without refrigeration and are easy to incorporate into any diet.

Garlic has a long history of being used to treat many health conditions and has been shown in laboratory studies to inhibit certain flu and cold viruses.  Its immune-boosting properties come from sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.  Allicin is a compound produced when garlic is crushed or chopped. After chopping a garlic clove, let it sit for 10-15 minutes before eating or cooking with it since time is needed to activate the allicin compound to ensure its greatest benefits. For maximum flavor and nutrition, purchase fresh garlic opposed to powders or prepackaged options.  Garlic is easy to incorporate into your daily meals to add flavor along with a boost to your immune system.

Citrus fruits are well known for their high vitamin C content.  Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of your white blood cells, the soldiers of your immune system. It is also an antioxidant that helps to squelch free radicals and is an important part of collagen building.  There are reports of intravenous (IV) vitamin C being used in China to treat COVID-19 and several clinical trials are now underway to determine if high doses of the vitamin are effective in treating the virus.  We do know that vitamin C can help reduce the severity and duration of the common cold virus when taken before getting a cold. Because the body doesn’t produce or store it, you need to consume vitamin C rich foods everyday for continued health. Citrus fruits are not only an excellent source of vitamin C but the bright orange, lemon and lime colors bring a little sunshine into the home as well.

Pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite foods for supplying the body with zinc.  Many studies have shown that zinc can reduce cold symptoms. There is also some evidence that suggests zinc may help increase immunity and prevent respiratory tract infections, particularly in the elderly who are more prone to zinc deficiency.  Pumpkin seeds are also known to have anti-microbial benefits and to provide antioxidant nutrients, such as vitamin E.  Add pumpkin seeds to a vegetable sauté (along with garlic!), sprinkle on salads, include them in your smoothie, or grind and use as a flour to add extra nutrition and flavor to your baked products.  I have a wonderful gluten free bread recipe that uses ground pumpkin seeds.

Although there is no current evidence that eating garlic, citrus or pumpkin seeds can prevent or treat COVID-19, food can play a powerful role in maintaining good health and fighting off disease.

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates

Susan Brady
is a Physical Therapist,
Nutrition Consultant and
Doctor of Integrative Medicine.
She has been treating women with osteoporosis for over 30 years and is dedicated to helping people achieve
lasting good health and vitality.

Want to learn more about how you can improve your bone health? Contact me for a free 15 minute phone consult to learn more about the BONES Method™ and how it can help you achieve strong, healthy bones for life!

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Susan Brady

Physical Therapist, Nutritional consultant & Doctor of Integrative medicine

Susan is an experienced physical therapist who can assess muscle strength, posture, and balance. She creates personalized exercise programs to improve bone strength. As a nutritionist, she focuses on improving nutrients for bone health and assessing digestion and absorption. Susan also understands the importance of reducing stressors to prevent bone loss. With her holistic approach, Susan effectively addresses all aspects of bone health.

Susan Brady

Physical Therapist, Nutritional consultant & Doctor of Integrative medicine

Susan is an experienced physical therapist who can assess muscle strength, posture, and balance. She creates personalized exercise programs to improve bone strength. As a nutritionist, she focuses on improving nutrients for bone health and assessing digestion and absorption. Susan also understands the importance of reducing stressors to prevent bone loss. With her holistic approach, Susan effectively addresses all aspects of bone health.

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