Monday, October 19, 2009

Superfoods Fight Swine Flu

As fall approaches and the weather gets colder flu season is expected to be at an all-time high and swine flu is still a danger, although not quite the pandemic as it was originally introduced as at the beginning of the summer. Swine flu—like the regular form of the flu which kills thousands of people per year if left untreated—needs to latch on to a body with a lowered immune system, so stay on top of it with these foods:

Yogurt – You have long heard that probioticsl help assemble the good bacteria in your stomach to keep diseases away and the flu is no different. Full of “live active cultures,” yogurt helps keep your internal systems running on track and make sure the stomach and intestines are free of germs that cause harmful bacteria to grow. A recent study from Europe showed that consuming just 7 ounces of yogurt a day contains just as much nutrition as swallowing the daily amount of probiotic supplements. The recommended dosage is two 6 ounce servings. Yogurt that contains the strain Lactobacillus reuteri, has proved to be most effective, and is currently only found in Stonyfield Farms yogurt sold in the United States.

Garlic – These delightful little power cloves are the perfect compliment to almost any type of food and can be enjoyed raw, baked, sautéed, or thrown into any combination of plates. Garlic has also been known for ages to cure many ailments but is now mostly used to fight bad bacteria as well as infection. Notorious for giving you bad breath, professionals still encourage eating two cloves a day or slice up a few in your meals a couple times a week in order to get their full effect.

Oats and Barley – A farmer’s delight, oats and barley contain a fiber that holds a lot of antimicrobial and antioxidant properties more akin to taking Echinacea. Animals that consume a lot of barley or oats in their diet are less likely to get diseases like the flu and the same goes for humans but these super grains also help speed up the healing process and boost immunity which is needed to prevent a virus like the flu from spreading. Eat one serving per day of oats or barley to attain the daily recommended dosage to keep bugs out of your system.

Chicken Soup – Mom always made chicken soup for you when you were sick…or at least you know television moms did for your two-dimensional companions. Chicken soup is not only chock full of delicious veggies, broth, and tender slow-cooked chicken that makes you feel instantly better, you may think that the “healing” is mainly psychological. In a study of 12 nationwide brands of pre-packaged chicken soups, researchers at the University of Nebraska found that all held the amino acids necessary for blocking the inflamed immunity cells that travel your body and build up in your trachea causing cold and flu symptoms associated with the throat. Salt from the broth helps to thin any mucus membranes that may have accumulated throughout the season and besides being whole meal when you add oyster or saltine crackers, chicken soup is a hearty and scrumptious way to celebrate cold weather. Eat chicken soup whenever you want.

Sweet Potatoes – The sweet and colorful cousin to the popular potato is often overlooked with the exception of adding to the rainbow that is a festive Thanksgiving table. Many people either love or hate sweet potatoes making it harder to incorporate these into more family dinners. Sweet potatoes are the mascots of vitamin A helping to keep your skin soft and healthy, keeping your connective tissue thick and useful. Foods containing beta-carotene help your body turn them into vitamin A which helps protect your body overall. If you detest the sweet potato, other sources of beta-carotene that carry vitamin A are found in other orange tinted foods like carrots and squash.

In order to keep both types of flu at bay, you should be nourishing your body with as much immune support as necessary to keep you healthy throughout the season. Follow these simple food tips to keep your insides in tip top fighting shape.

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