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Say “Boo!” To Swine Flu: Delicious Foods That Boost Your Immune System

Say “Boo!” To Swine Flu: Delicious Foods That Boost Your Immune System

Guest Blogger Marisa Miller Wolfson takes on swine flu in her usual badass way;

I have to admit that I’m mildly fascinated by the swine flu. I’m intrigued whenever farm animals (or illnesses named after them) make headlines. But ever since I saw Dr. Michael Greger give a presentation on his book, Bird Flu, I’ve been waiting for the time when the media will finally recognize that it’s humans’ pesky little animal eating/using/poaching habits that have helped set the scene for such treats as swine flu, bird flu, SARS, HIV, and even the common cold to emerge. Time magazine just wrote an article, calling our   “mingling with the critters” on farms and in live markets “a pathogenic speed blender” that “viruses have taken full advantage of.” Yup!

You know that I don’t get on my soap box very often, but a level 5 pandemic alert might just warrant a free pass. In short: animal agriculture helps breed funky viruses, and eating whole plant foods helps prevent us from getting them.

It’s common knowledge that eating healthy, whole plant foods boosts your immune system. Plants are chock full of disease-fighting, immune-boosting antioxidants and phytochemicals.


Broccoli has carotenoids, glucosinates, sulforaphanes and a bunch of other immune-boosting/disease-fighting agents that I can’t pronounce. Other great cruciferous veggies include: cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, and mustards greens. This Broccoli with Orange Peel and Walnuts recipe also utilizes an immune-boosting orange and ginger.

broccoli with orange peel

Orange veggies such as squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots contain beta-carotene, another awesome antioxidant. This Easy Healthy Curry contains sweet potatoes, carrot, cauliflower, and turmeric.

easy healthy curry

Fruits such as kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, and oranges have tons of vitamin C and antioxidants. Did you know that strawberries have more C than oranges? Truly Rawkin Strawberry Creme Parfait retains all the antioxidants of fresh, raw strawberries.

strawberry cream parfait

Pumpkin seeds, wheat germ and foods that are fortified with zinc. Zinc is one important immune-boosting nutrient that the meat industry screams and hollers and brags about. Don’t let them brag; eat your zinc. These Kick A$$ Pumpkin Seeds have garlic and lemon juice (vit. C)!

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pumpkin seeds

Green and red teas are brimming with antioxidants…literally. Choose a decaf green tea so that the calcium doesn’t leach from your bones. Or choose a red tea such as rooibos (my fave), which is naturally caffeine-free.

Garlic doesn’t just fend off vampires; it fends off viruses too.   Onions, shallots, scallions, leeks, and chives are in the same immune-boosting family. This Garlic Chard Spaghetti Squash has garlic, chard, and, well, squash!
garlic chard spaghetti squash

Herbs and spices such as turmeric, ginger, cilantro, rosemary, sage, and oregano are potent immune-boosters too. This Lazy Chana Masala has turmeric, cauliflower and onions.
lazy chana masala

Eating to stave off swine flu sure will be tasty!

Marisa Miller Wolfson is the Outreach Director for Kind Green Planet, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching people about healthy, humane, eco-friendly living. She’s currently in post-production for her documentary about veganism and is co-drafting a city council resolution to lower NYC’s global warming “foodprint.” She also loves coaching people on plant-based living through Vegan at Heart, a free email mentoring program for treehuggers, animal lovers, and health nuts who consider themselves vegans at heart but not necessarily in practice.