Five Natural Defenses for Cold and Flu Season

Author: Kelly Lehmann  •  Date: January 21, 2019  •  Appears in: News

Five Natural Defenses for Cold and Flu Season

While many of us have been experiencing a milder than usual winter, flu season is still with us. Here are 5 natural defenses for the season.

Pumpkin Seeds

Rich in zinc, iron, protein and fibre, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses. The zinc and iron support healthy blood cells and a strong immune system, the high fibre feeds your healthy gut bacteria. You can buy these seeds in most bulk stores and add them to salads, oatmeal, or muffins, or simply roast them for a snack. You can also save seeds from squash and roast them in olive oil and seasonings for the same nutritional benefit.


Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and radishes (to name a few). Rich in antioxidants and other wonderful compounds, these are immune system support at its finest. In addition to the antioxidant effects, these vegetables stimulate the immune system, decrease inflammation and have anti-bacterial and anti-viral effects. An added bonus, the prebiotic fibre supports your healthy gut bacteria.

Garlic, Onion and Leeks

These foods are important prebiotics. Prebiotics are derived from insoluble fibre and are important for feeding the healthy bacteria in your gut.  While probiotics get most of the attention these days, prebiotics are essential to keeping these healthy bacteria alive. These healthy bacteria in turn help your immune system function optimally among other benefits.

Living Foods and Probiotics

Fermented and cultured foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, and kombucha. The probiotic cultures populate your gut with healthy bacteria which leaves less room for the unhealthy bacteria. Studies are now linking a healthy gut population with increased immunity, fewer allergies and intolerances and lower body weight.

Vitamin C Rich Foods

Think beyond oranges for vitamin c rich foods. Try peppers and when they are out of season, try kale, cabbage, collards, cauliflower and sprouts. Oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, lemons, and limes are also great sources. Although mega doses of vitamin C supplements really haven’t proven themselves, including a variety of sources of these healthy vitamin C rich foods enhances your immune function and provides additional health benefits.

Feel free to contact the author for references.

Kelly Lehmann


Kelly is a Registered Dietitian in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She does consultations both in person locally, and online across the country - She blogs about food, cooking, family, fitness and balancing it all (as best as I can!) -
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