Five foods to help you fight off a cold

Don’t be surprised if more employees start calling in sick, because the flu and cold season has hit Michigan with a vengeance. While it’s best for sick employees to stay home, employees are not always heeding that advice.

Coworkers can protect themselves by washing their hands frequently, getting plenty of rest and drinking 8 -10 glasses of water each day.

For added protection, make these foods with proven immune-boosting power part of your regular diet:

Yogurt. The live active cultures in yogurt keep your stomach and intestines free of disease-causing germs. Studies have shown eating a cup of low-fat yogurt each day can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25%. Look for organic yogurt that contains the beneficial bacteria lactobacillus reuteri, which prevents viruses from replicating.

Brightly colored fruits and veggies. These include citrus fruits, berries, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, red beans and bell peppers. The brighter the better, since these will have higher levels of the immune-boosting antioxidants to battle the free radicals that dampen your natural defenses.

Oats and barley. Prevention reports that these grains boost immunity, speed wound healing, and may help antibiotics work better.

Mushrooms. They increase the production of cells that help fight off infection and contain polysaccharides, which are compounds that support the immune system. The most potent shrooms are shitake, maitake and reishi.

Chicken noodle soup. Yes, it really does work! The soup provides the fluids needed to help fight off viruses and keeps mucus thin, which can clear nasal congestion and reduce coughing. Plus, it has a mild anti-inflammatory effect than can help ease cold symptoms. Adding garlic will further repel colds as well as those pesky vampires.

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