Cold and flu season is in full swing. Aside from continuing safety protocols like frequent handwashing, there are other things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from colds and seasonal flu. Eating well, exercise and reducing stress are critical in warding off sickness.

Here are the top 5 items to add to your immune-boosting arsenal.

  1. Zinc: This mineral is necessary in the production of new immune system cells. Eat oysters, crab, lean meats and poultry, baked beans, chickpeas and yogurt.
  2. Vitamin C: Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, bell peppers, papaya, spinach, kale and broccoli. Because the body does not make or store it, getting your daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health.
  3. Vitamin E: This is a powerful antioxidant that can help the body fight off infection. Foods rich in vitamin E include almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and oils such as sunflower and safflower.
  4. Vitamin A: Foods rich in this carotenoid include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and dark green leafy vegetables.
  5. Vitamin D: This vitamin isn’t just good for strong bones, but vitamin D is excellent in supporting the immune system. Food sources include salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and vitamin D-fortified milks and juices.

Although supplements can help fill in the gaps in getting what the body needs, its best to get these nutrients from foods.

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