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This time of the year, busy brides need all the help they can get in the immunity department. If you're sniffling and coughing as we speak, consider stocking up on these foods known to help keep your defenses strong during cold and flu season. After all, you can't call in sick to your bridal shower! And because stress (wedding or otherwise) can wreak havoc on your immunity in general, give yourself a protective boost with these choices:
1. Oatmeal: Who knew that your morning bowl of oatmeal could be such a powerful immune booster? It's true, say Norwegian researchers. Oats contain beta glucan, a lesser-known type of fiber that's packed with germ-fighting compounds. And, is there anything more delicious on a cold winter morning than a steaming hot bowl of oatmeal?
2. Yogurt: Good news, the Greek yogurt you love in the morning is a powerful germ blaster. In fact, according to a study conducted by Austrian researchers, just one 7 oz. yogurt provided enough immune-boosting good bacteria to ward off intestinal bugs as heavy-duty probiotic supplements. In other words, no need to take expensive and annoying-to-swallow pills.
3. Garlic: Loved since ancient times for its antimicrobial properties, recent research has confirmed garlic's germ fighting power. In fact, in one study, researchers found that people who took a daily garlic supplement were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold or flu virus. Yes, you can take a garlic supplement, but nutrition experts say that to get the highest amount of allicin, garlic's good-for-you compound, consider taking two cloves per day (yes raw!). If you can't stomach raw garlic, consider mincing and mixing in with a little applesauce (you won't even know it's there), or add a bit of minced raw garlic to your pasta or salad before eating.
4. Chicken soup: Grandma was right. A bowl of fresh chicken soup (or canned, that's OK too) can make you feel better fast. In past studies, researchers discovered that chicken soup can help block white cells, which gives the body an immune boost. Slurp up winter brides!
5. Tea: If coffee is your beverage of choice, no need to quit, just consider swapping in a cup of afternoon tea now and then. Here's why: Harvard researchers found that people who drink tea daily have as much as 10 times certain disease-fighting compounds in their blood than non-tea drinkers. And, want to maximize the antioxidants in your cup? Steep that tea bag a bit longer (it can double the amount of good-for-you compounds you'll take in).