8 Natural Flu Fighters
Keep the sniffles at bay with these surprising immune boosters.
In a study of college students—who are often under stress and short on sleep, two factors that increase risk of illness—those who took a probiotic supplement daily for 12 weeks had shorter and less-severe colds. Make sure your yogurt’s label says it contains “live and active cultures” (the ingredients will list specific strains, such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus or L. acidophilus).
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A (a small spud packs more than 200 percent of your daily value), which is essential in stimulating the body’s response to infection, explains a 2011 study in the journal Immunity. Plus, vitamin A helps keep your skin—your body’s first line of defense against bacteria and viruses—strong and healthy.
There are few food sources of vitamin D, but just three ounces of this fish supplies more than 100 percent of your daily need. People with the lowest levels of D were about 36 percent more likely to report an upper respiratory infection than those with the most, according to a study in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. That’s especially important because adequate D levels can be hard to get in Northern climates in the winter.
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