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The Top 6 Foods That Protect Against Cold and Flu

This time of year can be stressful for those with loved ones who are immunocompromised or elderly. Colds, flus, and other respiratory illnesses are just a few of the common illnesses that are known to spread during the colder months. Now, throw in the added concerns of a rampant COVID-19 variant, and many family members/friends feel more discouraged than ever. You may not be able to completely protect your loved one from all of these ailments, but you can help boost their immune systems to fight back successfully. To help get you started, we identified six superfoods to incorporate into your loved one’s diet that are known to improve health and protect against illness. Consider discussing these dietary plans with their home health aide or CNA, so that they can help support your objective.

**Talk to a physician before incorporating any of these foods or supplements into your or your loved one’s diet.

1. Citrus

Most people tend to consume vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold; however, it’s important to work this nutrient into your diet regularly as it is thought to grow your body’s production of white blood cells, which are vital to fighting infections. Our bodies do not produce or store this vitamin, so it’s needed daily to maintain health. When it comes to ingesting foods that contain vitamin C, most people jump to oranges; however, nearly all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C!

2. Greek Yogurt

Good gut health is critical to staying fit and well, and can often be the first line of defense against infection. Studies have shown that more than 60% of our immune defenses are related to the mucosal lining of our gut, so it is essential that we take care of it. Some foods that are rich in probiotics include live yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

3. Garlic

Garlic has been used as an antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal agent. It also helps to boost your immune system, and research has found that it aids the body in resisting or destroying viruses and other microorganisms. It has even been thought that garlic can fight infections.

4. Ginger

The active ingredient in ginger, gingerol, has been shown to help fight infections, including the RSV virus. Ginger is also known to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidative. Studies have demonstrated that supplementing with ginger can also help improve indigestion, decrease bloating, and reduce intestinal cramping.

5. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are one of the most abundant natural sources of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is crucial to a healthy immune system, and low blood levels have been linked to reduced immunity.

6. Spinach

Spinach contains a high content of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, and iron. The nutrients in spinach help to fight off infections as well as replenish the blood cells to give a boost to the immune system. To obtain the maximum benefits of this superfood, try eating it raw or lightly cooked to preserve its nutrients.

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