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As summer recedes in our rear-view mirror, it’s almost time to start thinking about flu and cold season—and what you can do to make sure that your immune system is as strong as it can be so you can avoid seasonal illness.

Despite all the promises you see on drugstore shelves, there is no quick-fix “boost” or wonder drug you can take to shore up your immune system.[1] A healthy immune system relies on a healthy lifestyle.

Most medical practitioners agree that there are at least five steps you can take to boost your immune system naturally, including getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night,[2] minimizing your levels of daily stress,[3] regular exercise (30 minutes of walking helps and may also help you sleep better, as well as burn off stress), refraining from smoking and alcohol, and finally, maintaining a diet rich in fruits, grains and vegetables, such as the Mediterranean diet. What’s more, it’s well documented that good nutrition helps support our immune systems and provide protection from illness such as the flu and other health problems, including arthritis, allergies, abnormal cell development and cancers.[4]

Fruits and vegetables in particular are great sources of the vitamins and minerals and other “phytonutrients” (beneficial plant compounds) your body needs to fight off germs.

[F]ruits and vegetables . . . are rich in nutrients like vitamins C and E, plus beta-carotene and zinc. Go for a wide variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables, including berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Other foods particularly good for your immune system include fresh garlic, which may help fight viruses and bacteria, and old-fashioned chicken soup. If you do come down with a cold or the flu, a bowl of chicken soup can help you get well faster, one study shows.[5]

So instead of spending money on  “immune boosting” supplements that make promises that are not proven, focus on the basics: get some good sleep and exercise to help lower stress and be sure to stock your refrigerator and pantry with delicious fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices,  and fiber-filled grains and beans to help you stay healthy through the upcoming cold and flu season.

Learn more about how CCPHP can help you stay healthy throughout this cold and flu season by filling out the form below.



[1] Harvard Medical School. 2018, July 16. How to boost your immune system.  Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.

[2] Six Immune System Busters & Boosters. [No date] WebMd.com Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/10-immune-system-busters-boosters#1.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Wolfram, T. 2017, May 31. Protect Your Health with Immune Boosting Nutrition. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Retrieved from https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/protect-your-health-with-immune-boosting-nutrition.

[5] Six Immune System Busters & Boosters. [No date] WebMd.com Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/10-immune-system-busters-boosters#1.

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