You may be lucky enough to be sniffle-free so far, but cold and flu season is upon us. Just over 2 percent of Americans have had the flu so far this season and nearly 7 percent have caught a cold. Those are pretty typical numbers for October, according to Gallup. And although they might seem small, it's still early: More like 8 to 10 percent of people will be sniffling come December and January.
Some extra-diligent handwashing and sufficient shut-eye can go a long way in keeping you healthy all season long, but an immunity-boosting diet is not to be ignored. Start the morning off right with these tasty cold- and flu-fighting breakfasts.
Vitamin C may not be the all-powerful cold-repeller it was once thought to be, but it's still a nutrient essential to staying healthy. Citrus fruits are famous for their C, but fruits like papaya and kiwi pack even more of the crucial vitamin. You can't go wrong with a bowl of these. Consider tossing in some cantaloupe, too.
Sunny-Side Up Eggs
It's easy to skimp on the sunshine vitamin once the days start getting shorter, but if you're low on vitamin D, now's the time to bulk back up. There's some evidence to show that getting enough D this time of year can both reduce your risk of catching a cold and speed up recovery if you're already sniffling, Men's Health reported.The benefits are biggest in people who were lacking to begin with, Time reported. Eat some D for breakfast with sunny-side up eggs. One large egg yolk contains 37 IUs of vitamin D, about 6 percent of your daily recommended intake.
Yogurt With Wheat-Germ
It's time to buy into the hype about zinc. Using it to your advantage can shorten a standard cold by around a day and a half, Reuters reported. While lozenges and nasal sprays abound, it's surprisingly plentiful in a number of food sources, including wheat germ, one of the richest vegetarian sources of the mineral. Just one ounce packs more than 3 milligrams of zinc, nearly a quarter of your daily recommended intake. The nutty, slightly sweet flavor makes it a perfect yogurt topping.
Salmon is another great choice for anyone looking to up their vitamin D. Add some smoked salmon to a slice or two of whole-grain toast with cheese. Some people argue that dairy products only aggravate congestion, but they may not bother everyone, Ilyse Schapiro, R.D., C.D.N. told HuffPost last year. Plus, cheese adds some protein, which powers your body to make more cold-destroying white blood cells.
Fruit isn't the only good source of vitamin C. A cup of chopped red bell pepper contains 190 milligrams of the stuff, more than twice as much as an orange. They're also rich in vitamin A, which aids the growth of mucosal cells, the first line of defense against bacteria trying to invade, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Pumpkin Seed Granola
An ounce of these crunchy bites contains nearly 3 milligrams of zinc, almost 20 percent of your daily recommended intake. Try 'em in a batch of homemade granola, or toss them into yogurt or oatmeal.
Top It Off With Tea
Mimic the warm, comforting feeling of soup with a hot mug of tea. Upping your liquid intake in general can help thin mucus and a little steam is sure to bust congestion. Opt for a green variety and you'll have the added benefits of more concentrated antioxidants, in particular EGCG, which seems to fight off viruses by increasing the number of "regulatory T cells" in the body, a marker of stronger immune system functioning.