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Eight Foods to Superpower Your Immune System

As polar vortexes, nor'easters and monsoons ensue across the country, people are more likely to stay indoors, which also means that germs can circulate more easily.

Cue the sniffling, sore throats, coughs and congestion -- classic signs of the common cold.
 
If you're feeling under the weather, food might be the last thing on your mind. "Some people may lose their appetite [when they're feeling sick] due to diminished sense of taste or smell or lack of energy," says Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Founder of DiabetesEveryDay.com.

But even if you've lost your appetite, it's important to keep consuming nutrient-dense grub. "The longer we go without meeting our nutrient needs, the weaker we can become and the slower our recovery may be," says Maxine Yeung, MS, RD, CDN, NASM-CPT and founder of The Wellness Whisk.

The old adage that you should "feed a cold, starve a fever" isn't exactly true. Regardless of whether you have a cold or a fever, you should make sure you're consuming enough nutrients to give your body the energy it needs to fuel its immune defenses, says Smithson.
 
In the spirit of boosting white blood cells, make a habit of incorporating these cold-fighting foods into your diet whenever you're fending off the sniffles. Better yet? Eat them on a regular basis so your immune system is always firing on all cylinders.

8 Foods to Boost Immunity and Fight the Common Cold

1. Chicken Soup
 
Chicken soup isn't just good for the soul. It's good if you're feeling under the weather, too. "Research has found that chicken soup helps to prevent inflammatory white cells from moving to other parts of your body, which can decrease your cold symptoms," says Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The bone broth in chicken soup contains collagen, which can help boost your immune system, in addition to amino acids and nutrients that help prevent inflammation. "Chicken soup's illness-fighting ability is thought to be related to cysteine, an amino acid released from chicken during cooking. The hot liquid in soup also helps you to stay hydrated, which can help loosen any secretions." Making bone broth at home is really easy -- just follow this recipe.

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