10 Super Foods for Fall

Katherine Chavez (Lik), ND

1. Ginger

Fresh ginger activates T-cells, immune cells that destroy virus-infected cells. It inhibits mucous production and helps clear congestion.


2. Sweet potatoes
Rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes aid the immune system. They also help maintain mucosal surfaces in our respiratory tract, digestive tract, and skin to keep microbes out of our bodies.


3. Protein
Protein is vital for many biological processes including immune function. Find it in animal foods-meat, fish, and eggs-and plant foods such as beans, nuts, seeds, rice, quinoa, and corn. If you're vegetarian, mix two types of plant proteins with each meal, the classic combination for a complete vegetarian protein is rice and beans. 


4. Garlic
The sulfur-containing compound allicin gives garlic its pungent odor and antimicrobial qualities. Allicin increases the body's ability to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Garlic consumption reduces instances of colds and reduces length of colds. It is most potent when consumed raw. Due to its distinctive odor, this is not always socially possible, but cook with it as much as possible.


5. Medicinal mushrooms
Mushrooms enable your body to locate and destroy bacteria, virus, and even cancer cells more quickly. They contain several sugars necessary for the immune system to make antibodies. They are also a great source of zinc (especially shiitake and crimini). Most beneficial when cooked, many raw mushrooms can actually be toxic to the liver.


6. Elderberry Juice
Elderberry juice suppresses replication of some influenza viruses and increases levels of viral antibodies that block the flu virus. It is rich in anthocyanins, which enhance cytokine production. Cytokines are proteins that regulate the immune systems response to virus. Elderberries are also rich in quercetin, which stops replication of viruses and bacteria.


7. Peppers
The food highest in vitamin C, peppers can reduce the length and severity of symptoms in a viral upper respiratory tract infection.


8. Tea
Tea is rich in catechins, studies show that catechins taken on a regular basis can reduce risk of catching the flu by 75 percent. Additionally, hot tea can break up sinus and chest congestion and soothe sore throats.


9. Honey
Honey can reduce cough with upper respiratory infections and has antimicrobial and antiviral effects. (It is also delicious in tea!)


10. Oysters
Oysters contain more zinc than any other food. Zinc is a great immune booster, increasing the production of T immune cells. It is necessary for the absorption and proper use of vitamin A.

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