5 Foods That Will Keep You Healthy This Winter

Winter is cold and flu season is here. One of your friends starts to sniffle and you avoid them for a month. You take hand sanitizer with you whenever you leave the house. The food you eat can also help protect you from illness by boosting your immune system. As you prepare gourmet meals to practice for your online culinary arts program, choose ingredients that will give your body the power to fight bacteria and disease.

1. Tahini
​Tahini is a paste made from toasted sesame seeds. It has a similar consistency and protein content to peanut butter, but it is also loaded with zinc and magnesium. Zinc is a trace element that activates white blood cells. This element is essential for immunity function. In fact, if the body does not get enough, immune cells can’t function properly, putting you at greater risk for illness. Use tahini as you would peanut butter, or get creative. For example, you can substitute it in pad Thai or make a tahini-yogurt dip.

2. Yogurt
That tahini-yogurt dip is a two-fold immunity booster. Yogurt has probiotics, which promote digestive health. Probiotics are “good” bacteria that can be found in yogurts with a live and active culture. Be sure the brand you buy has this feature.

3. Squash
Squash is filled with beta-carotene, a provitamin that can be converted into vitamin A. This vitamin plays a role in maintaining mucosal surfaces and helps break up mucous when you’re congested. Furthermore, vitamin A strengthens certain cells that fight infection. Use squash to make hearty soups or fill one with stuffing. Beta-carotense is naturally present in many fruits, grains, oils and vegetables so you can diversify your immune-boosting menu.

4. Garlic
Garlic contains allicin, which is responsible for fighting infection and bacteria. It has even been found to exhibit antibacterial activity against drug-resistant strains of E coli. Use garlic in your culinary creations this season to help prevent and fight illness. Try out a creamy garlic pasta dish or roasted garlic purple mashed potatoes to make this aromatic bulb the star of your meal.

5. Fish
Certain types of fish have an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation, increasing airflow and protecting the lungs from colds and respiratory infections. The body cannot produce omega-3, so you have to consume it, especially because it’s an essential fatty acid. Get your fill of this immune-boosting super food from salmon, tuna and halibut. Grill a gorgeous salmon dish or sear some ahi tuna for a great meal that will keep you healthy this winter.

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