7 flu-fighting foods

61% of adults age 65 - plus got their flu shot 2012

The flu season is about to begin, and you know what that means- get a flu shot and do what you can to stay healthy. Drug makers expect to produce nearly 140 million doses of vaccine this year, according tot he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and officials warn that it's important for older adults to get their shot as soon as possible to give the vaccine time to take effect. To help cut down on illness, it's important that family members and those who work around people 65 and older get vaccinated. And don't forget to boost your body's immune system with these natural flu-fighting foods.



Black-Eyed Peas these nutritious legumes are rich in zinc, a trace mineral that keeps your immune system in working order.  Pinto beans, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds and wheat germ are other good choices.



Carrots They're rich in beta-carotene, which your body uses to ward off respiratory infections.  Other good sources are dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash.



Tea Green, black and oolong tea all contain naturally occurring  compounds that reduce the risk of flu, including quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, and L-theanine, and amino acid found naturally only in tea.  Decaffeinated teas also contain the amino acid, but herbal teas do not.



Yogurt; pro-biotic, the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, strengthen the immune system.  Not a fan of yogurt? Try cottage cheese, kimchi (a fermented Korean dish made of seasoned vegetables) or sauerkraut instead.


Tomatoes; Vitamin C-rich tomatoes help fight colds and flu by boosting the body's natural defense system in the same way their citrusy relatives do. One medium tomatoe provides 40 percent of your daily vitamin C, so have a glass of tomato juice at lunch and treat yourself to pasta with tomato sauce for dinner.




Mushrooms; These nutritional powerhouse heighten the body's resistance to viral infections by increasing the activity of natural killer cells, a vital part of the immune system.  They are also rich in selenium: low levels of this element have been linked with an increased risk of developing more severe flu. 



Almonds These popular nuts are a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps your body ward off viral infections. To maximize vitamin E absorption, opt for chopped almonds, almond butter or almond oil