In case you haven’t been watching the news or laying on your bathroom floor after three hours of puking, a flu epidemic has hit the U.S. Think you know how to strengthen your immune system just because you got a flu shot? Think again. They’re only about 62 percent effective — and they do nothing to fight the norovirus (aka, the stomach flu) that’s also been hitting the country hard this winter. So about the only thing you can do is beat back the infected with shovels … or learn how to strengthen your immune system with everyday activities.
Your first task? Wash your goddamned hands, Pig-Pen. Viruses and bacteria can live for hours on keyboards — they actually have far, far more creepy-crawlies on them than toilet seats — doorknobs, and phones, but using antibacterial soap for 20 seconds or longer helps neutralize the germs. When you feel sickness coming on, your first intuition might be to reach for vitamin C. That might help, but it might not. In studies, Vitamin C has been shown to be no more effective than a placebo at shortening the duration of cold symptoms.
Your diet can also play a big role if you’re trying to figure out how to strengthen your immune system. These eight foods in particular can help …
In addition to being delicious, oysters provide a jolt of protein, vitamins B12 and D, copper, iron, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids. The zinc can help white blood cells reproduce more rapidly and strengthen your immune system.
According to some studies, consuming elderberries actually blocks the flu virus. More research needs to be done to confirm that for sure, but the berries are high in antioxidants that can help combat inflammation. So they’re worth a try.
We’ll give you the good news first. Spinach is high in iron, which helps your immune system stave off infection and produce red blood cells, which transport oxygen to your brain and protect against anemia. Also, it’s good for hair and skin. Now the bad news: Eating spinach won’t inflate your guns like Popeye.
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