More than 200 viruses can cause the common cold and produce symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, coughing or a runny nose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, experts suggest that there are a variety of healthy foods that individuals could consume in order to boost their immune systems.
Timi Gustafson, a Washington-based dietitian, wrote in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that eating fruits and vegetables is the easiest way a person can ward off infections and strengthen the immune system. This includes foods that are rich in antioxidants and is due in part to the fact that antioxidants may prevent toxins, which can cause colds and infections, from harming the body.
There are some foods that contain higher amounts of antioxidants, like beta-carotene or carentoids, than others. Fruits and vegetables that are bright in color such as watermelons, mangoes, apricots, peaches, tangerines or grapefruit are rich in beta-carotene, the news provider reports. Carrots, broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes and beets also fall into this category.
Maintaining a healthy, nutritional diet may also have other benefits. Gustafson wrote in the news source that these types of foods contain nutrients that support the immune system against and protect against inflammatory risks. As a result, these foods may prevent problems associated with allergies or other inflammations.