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Cold and flu season is upon us — hopefully, you’re as prepared as possible. But getting the flu shot, washing your hands, and using sanitizing wipes can only go so far, especially with flu viruses being able to survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours. One of the best ways to keep your body healthy and strong enough to fight off viruses is by strengthening it from the inside. To do this, you should consume foods and drinks that have immune-boosting qualities. So to keep you healthy this cold and flu season, here are a few foods and drinks that can help give your immune system a much-needed boost.

Green tea: Green tea is beneficial for your health in several ways, one of which is strengthening the immune system. Green tea contains flavonoids, which is a strong antioxidant. This antioxidant not only boosts the immune system, but it also has anti-inflammatory qualities, which can come in handy if you do end up getting sick. Another antioxidant in green tea is catechin, which has been proven to help fight off cold and flu viruses.

Cruciferous vegetables: Vegetables that are cruciferous are known for being full of essential vitamins, like vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins are key to keeping your body healthy and strong. Additionally, these types of vegetables are packed full of fiber and antioxidants, which are also key to fighting off any viruses that may come your way. Some of these vegetables include cabbage, brussels sprouts, bok choy, and broccoli. Broccoli can be especially beneficial to your health due to the fact that it contains sulforaphane, which helps to turn on antioxidant genes in the body.

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Chocolate and nuts: That’s right, even chocolate and certain nuts can help boost your immune system. Dark chocolate contains theobromine, which is an antioxidant that can actually help reduce coughing. Along with dark chocolate, nuts like almonds can also be very beneficial to your immune system. Almonds contain plenty of nutrients that your body uses to fight off bacteria and viruses. Vitamin E, zinc, selenium, and niacin can all be found in almonds and can offer immense health benefits.

Being sick can be downright miserable, especially when it comes to the flu. So if you’re looking to avoid becoming one of the three million people who visit urgent care centers each week, keep your immune system as strong as possible. Consuming these foods and drinks can be an easy way to stay healthy this cold and flu season.

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