Want to fight off colds and flu like a champ? You could go the Rocky route and charge up those 72 steps to the Philadelphia Art Museum. (Yes, exercise helps you keep colds at bay.) Or you could just do your daily 30-minute walk AND chow down on these five foods. They prime your immune system to fend off the fiercest attacks.
1. Power up with the right proteins. One of protein’s many jobs is pumping up your ability to make disease-busting antibodies. Just dodge sucker punches from fatty red meats and full-fat dairy foods — they promote heart-hazardous inflammation. Put lean high-protein winners in your corner: no-fat dairy, skinless white-meat chicken, ground turkey breast, tofu, fish, nuts and beans.
2. Load up on colorful fruits. Oranges, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, kiwis … all are loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids, which help your body churn out protective immune cells.
3. Sip hot tea. People who drink five cups (about three mugs) of black tea daily produce 10 times more virus-fighting interferon than coffee drinkers.
4. Eat 100 percent whole-grain cereals. Oatmeal, shredded wheat and others deliver three nutrients proven to enhance immunity: selenium, zinc and beta glucan.
5. Spice up your chicken soup. If you catch something anyway, yep, chicken soup shortens its duration by 50 percent. One theory about why (there are many): Cooked chicken releases cysteine, an amino acid that’s chemically similar to acetylcysteine, a bronchitis drug. Up the soup’s knockout punch to cold and flu bugs by tossing in infection-fighting garlic and hot red pepper, which contains capsaicin, a powerful decongestant. Feel better fast.
The YOU Docs — Mike Roizen and Mehmet Oz