Also known as bioflavonoids, flavonoids are a kind of phytochemical that appear to actually attack and damage virus DNA. A recent study done by the University of Hawaiis Cancer Research Center linked consumption of two classes of flavonoids found in onions, apples and white grapefruit with reduced risk for lung cancer.
Other good flavonoid sources include citrus fruits, red wine, black and green tea, broccoli, tomatoes and soy.
5. ABCs of Vitamins
Get plenty of these vitamins to help strengthen your immune system:
A is critical for maintaining your bodys front-line disease fighters the mucous membranes in your nose, stomach and eyes. Lean sources come from the dark-green, red and orange hues of spinach, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes and squash.
The B vitamins (B6, riboflavin and thiamine) act as co-enzymes that combine with enzymes to make them active and assist with metabolizing protein, carbs and fats, Dorfman says. Use energy more efficiently by getting your B's from fish, seeds, nuts, green leafy veggies and lentils.
Vitamin C is mandatory for producing infection-fighting white blood cells. You know oranges and orange juice, but also get C from sources like strawberries, kiwi fruit, red peppers, spinach and sweet potatoes.
6. Help the Good Habits Work
Get enough fluid. Think of water as the vehicle to deliver your good nutrition message to your body. Drinking enough helps the body dissolve amino acids, sugars, minerals and other substances so that you can utilize them. Water also serves as a cushion and a lubricant for joints and a transporter of waste. Minimum is 1 liter per day; drink more if youre in training.
Limit alcohol. Your body uses B vitamins to break down alcohol, so when you indulge, your muscles are robbed of these metabolizers.
Be consistent. Your body loves consistency, Dorfman says. Try to maintain the same eating strategies all year long.
Incorporating all these healthy patterns into your daily diet will keep your immunity furnace burning and turning away viruses year round.