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Adlen Robinson: Boost your immune system, prevent the flu

You can’t listen to the news without hearing about the Coronavirus. While this deadly virus is scary, the plain old regular flu is much more common and can also be deadly. 

Many people have already lost their lives during this current flu season (2019-20), and thousands more are sick or may soon be. Even if you got a flu shot, there is still a chance you can get the flu. Thankfully, there are things we can all do to try to stay healthy. 

Keep reading for some ways you can build up your immune system and improve your overall health.

Most health experts sites having a healthy lifestyle as key when it comes to boosting your immune system and preventing illnesses. Some of the top things to incorporate into your life include regular exercise, eating a variety of healthy foods, maintain a healthy weight, drink alcohol in moderation, get enough sleep (we are talking seven to nine hours per night), wash your hands with soap and water frequently, minimize/manage your stress, and of course, don’t smoke.

There are also lots of specific foods you can eat that taste great and pack powerful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to boost your immune system and keep you healthy and strong.



Loaded with vitamin C, citrus fruits increase your white blood cells which in turn, are key to fighting infections. Try squeezing lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit into your water during the day for a citrus boost while you are staying hydrated.


Red bell peppers 

While citrus is usually known for its vitamin C, did you know red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C as citrus fruits do? They are also a good source of beta carotene.



Used for centuries for medicinal purposes, ginger is thought to decrease inflammation and also may help lower your bad cholesterol. If you don’t use fresh ginger in your cooking, you can still reap the benefits by making ginger tea.

Just peel a good bit of fresh ginger, cut into rounds and then pour boiling water over all. 

Let steep for a few hours and then strain into a glass container. Refrigerate and add a ¼ cup or so to water, your morning health drink, or just straight up. I like to add the juice of a half of a lemon to mine every morning.


A great way to add tons of flavor to your cooking, whether it is raw or cooked, garlic may also help lower your blood pressure in addition to boosting your immune system.


Loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals, broccoli also contain other antioxidants and fiber. Just be careful not to overcook broccoli — and of course for the most benefits, eat it raw.



Rich in vitamin C, and packed with antioxidants and beta carotene, spinach is super healthy. Like broccoli, avoid overcooking and for maximum benefits, consume spinach raw.



Look for yogurt that has “live and active cultures” on the label. Especially look for yogurt that is made from the milk from grass fed cows. These cultures stimulate your immune system and the yogurt just tastes so much better. 

Avoid yogurt that has added sugar, which most do. If you need that “sweet” factor, serve yogurt with some fruit and a drizzle of honey — preferably local honey.



Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it needs fat to be absorbed by the body. A mere half cup of almonds gives you 100% of what you need in a day of vitamin E.


This miracle spice has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes as well as for seasoning food. Besides being anti-inflammatory, it is also great for your bone health.


Green tea

Containing a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, green tea is also a good source of L-theanine, an important amino acid. I like to make a big pitcher of half green tea, half black tea and keep it in the refrigerator. I drink this iced tea all year long, even when it is cold outside.



Loaded with vitamin C, papaya’s contain a digestive enzyme called papain which is anti-inflammatory. Papaya is also a terrific source for potassium, B vitamins and folate.



Every time I eat kiwi, I think, “Why do I always forget about this delicious little fruit?” Besides being yummy, kiwi are chock full of folate, potassium, vitamins K and C.



When I’m feeling under the weather, the only thing I want to eat is chicken noodle soup. It is soothing, delicious and healthy. Poultry is a great source of vitamin B-6, and is one of the most nourishing things you can eat when sick — or anytime.


Sunflower seeds

I love snacking on these little seeds. They are also perfect as a salad topping. Loaded with phosphorous, magnesium, vitamins B-6 and E, sunflower seeds need to be in your diet.

 So, now you know some of the top foods you need to be eating to help boost your immune system. Be sure to check out Friday’s food column for some simple, yet delicious recipes utilizing some of these super foods. 

South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” Email her at