Keep your immune system strong with these foods

Adriana Urbina is an In The Know cooking contributor. Follow her on her Instagram and visit her website to find out more about her.

There are many different ways to combat colds and flu, but diet and regular exercise are two key factors in keeping it under control.

The best way to get the nutrients your immune system needs is to eat a variety of healthy foods. That’s usually a better option than taking supplements.

It’s important to focus on a balanced diet filled with nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Continue reading for a list of foods to include in your diet to strengthen your immune system. .

protein: This can be especially helpful for healing and recovery. It is found in plant and animal products such as milk, eggs, beef, chicken, fish, nuts, beans and seeds.

Vitamin A: Helps regulate the immune system and protect against infections. Found in sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, eggs, milk and cereals fortified with vitamin A.

Vitamin C: Look for this in citrus. Helps the immune system produce antibodies.

Vitamin D: Found in fatty fish and eggs, and vitamin D-fortified beverages.

Vitamin E: It acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants reduce inflammation. Vitamin E is found in fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils and peanut butter.

zinc: This may speed up wound healing. Although found in wheat germ, beans, and tofu, zinc is best obtained from animal sources such as beef and fish.

probiotics: Probiotics are sometimes called good bacteria. They help your body digest food and can even fight disease-causing cells. Found in fermented foods such as yogurt and beverages such as kimchi, kefir and kombucha.

Have you tried kefir? Kefir is a cultured fermented milk product that tastes like drinking yogurt. You can find it in the dairy section of most health food stores, but you can also easily make your own at home. are described in detail below).

Kefir grains come from the so-called “mother culture”. Making kefir nurtures mother culture. Ultimately, some part of the culture must be removed or transferred. This can be a fun and community-building activity, sharing grains and experiences. You can also order a milk kefir starter culture that contains bacteria for cultivating milk (but not derived from the mother culture).


  • You can use fresh or pasteurized whole milk, low-fat milk, or fat-free milk. If you are dairy sensitive, you can also make kefir with non-dairy alternatives such as coconut or almonds.
  • You will need a glass quart or thermos and a plastic or wooden spoon. Do not use metal.
  • It is best to strain the kefir through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag as the wires can cut the kefir grains.Remember kefir grains are a living culture.
  • Use clean hands when handling kefir grains to avoid contamination with unwanted bacteria.
  • Wash the grains with room temperature water. Hot water can damage grain.

homemade kefir

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Fermentation time: 24 hours
Servings: 4

Credit: Adriana Urbina


  • kefir grains (raw or dehydrated)
  • 4 cups room temperature milk (optional, following tip above)


1. Reconstitute dehydrated grains by placing in 1/2 cup milk for 24 hours before use.
2. Place 2-3 tablespoons of kefir grains in a glass quart jar and add milk.
3. Stir with a plastic or wooden spoon. Cover loosely and let stand at room temperature for 18-24 hours.
4. When the kefir is ready, it will float on the surface of the milk.
5. Remove surface particles with a plastic spoon or filter. Refrigerate milk kefir and enjoy for 3-4 weeks.
6. When you’re ready to make another batch, add milk and repeat the process. If you wait, put kefir grains in a small amount of milk and leave at room temperature.

If you enjoyed this article, here are 11 healthy habits you should incorporate into your daily routine.

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