To flight flu, boost your immune system

December 10, 2003

From KING and KGW Staff Reports

PORTLAND, Ore. Ė Flu vaccines are in short supply, but if you havenít gotten a shot, you might want to head to the grocery store to keep from getting sick.

Below is a shopping list aimed at giving your immune system a shot in the arm.

Your mother may have said it first: Eat your fruits and vegetables.

Nutritionist Valerie Edwards with Providence Health Systems said this flu season, try cooking with onions or garlic.

Blueberries are an antioxidant powerhouse.
"Onions and garlic are generally thought to be immunite boosters, not a magic pill, but ways you can keep your body a little more healthy,Ē she said.

Also, add food rich in antioxidants to your diet Ė even if itís just a little bit at a time.

Those healthy choices may improve your bodyís ability to keep the flu at bay.

"So what you're going to do by eating more fruits and vegetables is have your bodyís immune system more amped up and able to fight infection," said Edwards.

An antioxidant heavyweight: blueberries, but tomatoes, oranges and carrots fit the bill nicely as well.

Also include broccoli, spinach and other green vegetables.

Also, green tea is loaded with antioxidants.

"It's lower in caffeine than regular black tea and lower than coffee, so you get a little caffeine, but not a whole lot," said Edwards.

Just donít steep it too long, which makes it taste bitter.

In addition, drink lots of water to flush toxins from your body and keep you well hydrated.

One more thing: Managing your stress is key because increased stress causes decreased immunity.


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