Flu season is coming and the CDC is stressing that you get vaccinated. They say that 50,000 Americans have died of the flu in a year. (source) But the National Institutes of Health found that getting the flu vaccine has caused encephalitis, seizures, and at least seven other scary diseases in thousands of cases. There’s good news – you can still amp up your flu protection without the risk of these dangerous side effects by adding a few foods to your daily lunch box.
Broccoli, the Mini Trees You Can Eat
While making breakfast and preparing your lunch for work or school, throw a bushel of broccoli in a small pot of water and crank the burner up. Leave the broccoli to boil as you go through your morning prep. By the time breakfast is ready you can divvy up the broccoli between your breakfast plate and your prepared lunch.
Believe it or not, these tiny tree-looking veggies can boost your immunity and protect you from cancer. Researchers discovered that broccoli has a powerful compound called 3,3′-diindolylmethane, or DIM, that boosts your levels of virus-fighting interferon compounds made by your immune system. They also found that DIM can double your immune cell count. This means eating broccoli can double your immune system’s flu-fighting power. (Source)
Not convinced? Check this out
Researchers fed two groups of mice with a harmless virus that can live in their intestines. They then fed one group with DIM. The DIM group had less viruses in their feces!
As a bonus, DIM has also been found to slow and help stop cancer cells from multiplying.
Don’t like broccoli? DIM is also in cabbage and kale. You can get your DIM and cut your carbs by switching out your carb-heavy sandwich buns with flu-fighting, 22-calorie cabbage buns. (Source)
Kimchi and Other Fermented Friends
If you’re scared of fermented foods because they contain live bacteria, don’t be. Kimchi is made by fermenting cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, and cancer-fighting detox herbs, like garlic and ginger, with probiotic bacteria. Of course, harmful bacteria that make food rotten also proliferate in the mixture – but the traditional salting process and the probiotic bacteria both eventually kill off all disease-causing bacteria. The result is a food laden with the same bacteria in a probiotics pill with virtually no bad bacteria present. (Source)
Kimchi’s cabbage already has DIM that protects you from the flu. Its probiotics have been found to activate your immune cells for quicker response against invading cold-causing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Researchers also found that giving infants probiotics or probiotic-rich foods, like kimchi, can help prevent childhood diseases and strengthen their fragile guts’ immunity.
What else can enjoying kimchi do for you? Its probiotic bacteria keep your bad gut bacteria from producing chemicals that make you fat (Source). Researchers also found that eating kimchi prevents constipation, lowers your cholesterol, makes you smarter, slows signs of aging, and makes your skin beautiful!
If you’re not into Korean food, these other fermented foods carry almost the same benefits: buttermilk, yogurt, and kefir. If you’re always on the go, drink kombucha instead. It carries all these benefits and gives your whole body a detox too!
Vitamin C Supplements
Pop a vitamin C pill before heading out and you’ll keep your body protected from the colds and flus getting around. Scientists discovered that vitamin C ramps up your immune system’s virus-fighting abilities. When you take vitamin C, your body makes more immune cells and interferon compounds, which bolsters your antiviral defenses. Vitamin C also directly interferes with viruses’ ability to replicate. This in return slows the start or spread of a cold or flu. It gives your immune system a chance to eradicate them before things get worse.
Taking vitamin C supplements is the most effective way to get these immune-boosting benefits. But you can also eat kale or peppers, both of which have more vitamin C than orange juice and far less calories. (Source)
You don’t have to get the sniffles every winter. Boost your immunity and protect yourself from flus and colds with these three amazing foods!