Foods That Fight Illness

+500 MILES
This winter season, the flu and colds abound.  Germs lurk everywhere, from a handshake to a sneeze, from doorknobs to fuel pump handles.  Since you can’t afford your wheels to stop turning for an illness, you must proactively choose to fight getting sick.  Believe it or not, what you eat has a huge impact on your health.
Bob Perry, the Trucker Trainer, and Carissa Berres, Health Smart Coach show you how all of these foods that fight illness can fit in the truck with you! 
Let’s discuss some illness-preventing foods and some proactive things to do to avoid getting sick this year.
  • First, let’s talk fruits and vegetables.  You knew it was coming.  If what you’ve heard before hasn’t convinced you, eating these foods is an essential part of living a healthy life. They are naturally rich in the vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy.  Pick fruits and vegetables deep in color to find the most vitamin rich, or pick from the list of beneficial fruits and veggies below:
    • Bananas contain the B6 vitamins our bodies need to fight infections. 
    • Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene to strengthen your white blood cells, which also fights infection. 
    • Red bell peppers actually contain more vitamin C than oranges! Vitamin C strengthens your immune system, but can also help lower your stress level. 
    • Blueberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants, which help fight disease. 
    • Mushrooms, to throw a fungus in there, contain the vitamin D you need to strengthen your immunity.  
  • Drinking water helps your body run more efficiently and helps you stay healthy.  Dehydration weakens our body’s natural defenses.  We tend to drink less water in the winter since we’re not trying to regulate our body temperature like in the summer.  Make sure you don’t drop the habit you might be building to drink more water.  If you are a coffee drinker, replace one cup of coffee with a cup of tea to get some added hydration into your day.  Water in any form helps clear your throat, stomach, and digestive system of any bacteria or viruses that will try to settle in for an extended stay.
  • You can also add some simple spices to your meals for extra illness prevention.
    • Garlic has been my favorite discovery and I add it to everything. It is a natural immune system booster and a natural antibiotic.  A US study showed those who were taking garlic on a regular basis were just under two-thirds less likely to get a cold than those who were not taking it.
    • Cayenne pepper can also help. Similar to water, cayenne will get mucus flowing by breaking it up so that your body can get rid of it. 
    • Ginger can be added to your tea or water if you’re already feeling poorly.  Ginger promotes sweat which will help flush out any toxins that may have started to build up.
Now that we’ve given you some ideas to help fight off sickness, let’s take a quick look at some of the things you should avoid. 
Bob Perry, the Trucker Trainer, and Carissa Berres, Health Smart Coach discuss things you should avoid to stay healthy!
  • Limit your intake of refined sugars.  Too much sugar will lower your immune system’s ability to fight infection and germs immediately.  Just two cans of soda will stop your white blood cells ability to attack bacteria by 50% for up to 5 hours after being consumed according to Dr. Sears on www.askdrsears.com. 
  • Avoid smoking or consuming too much alcohol. Avoiding these substances is good for your health for many reasons, but as it pertains to this topic, both smoking and alcohol will damage the lining of your mouth and throat. These areas are the first line of defense against germs.
  • Avoid sleep deprivation. Make sure to get plenty of sleep and avoid wearing down your body. Most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.
  • Don’t stop exercising just because it’s cold outside! Get some exercise to help keep your body working at its best. Purchase a gym membership if you need a safe place away from the ice and snow to get a workout. Snap Fitness has locations across the country and in many Pilot Flying Js. Check back here for a list of locations coming soon. 
What you eat and the unhealthy activities you avoid can have a huge impact on your health this winter.  Eat the illness-preventing foods you enjoy and be proactive to avoid getting sick this year.
 
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By
Carissa Berres

As a person who has lost 60 lbs...twice...I've learned a lot about the little things it takes to not only lose weight, but live a healthy balanced life. I enjoy staying active and after tackling a 100 mile bike ride that I completed in June 2012, I am currently training to do a Triathlon! I love learning more about food and exercise.

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COMMENTS +300 miles

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Kim Behne
I concur. Split pea, barley soup is excellent for an immune system booster.
2/6/2013 12:45:34 AM

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Linda Caffee
Very informative thanks you guys!
2/4/2013 4:36:24 PM

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Craig McCue
Carissa,
Great article. Hopefully people are really thinking about the little things that can help and hurt their health. The cold and flu season seems to be worse this year than in past years here in the northwest. It only takes one small slip in your daily regiment to contract the germs that will take you off the road for a few days or a week.
2/4/2013 1:25:35 PM

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