HealthWatch--Boosting your immune system

When it comes to staving off the flu -- it can be hard to tell which remedies actually do the trick...and which ones are just old wives tales. Regional Health Dietician Cindy Gates has some advice in this week's HealthWatch.

Gates says, "The old adage you should feed a cold and starve a fever isn't exactly true. Regardless of if you have a cold or fever or the flu, you should always consume a healthy diet to help improve your immune system. Today's discussion is about how to boost our immunity and help fight the common cold. Chicken noodle soup. Homemade chicken noodle does does help the common cold. One, because of the bone broth, the garlic and also the vegetables. And also eating a lot of chicken noodle soup, the hot liquid helps keep you hydrated and helps loosen any secretions. Yogurt is a natural probiotic. it's also a good bacteria that lives in our gut. Studies have shown that if we eat more yogurt, we have a better immune system. You just have to be careful when eating yogurt, always choose more the plain varieties and add your own fruit. Otherwise you're going to be eating a lot of sugar. Your heart isn't the only thing that like omega 3 fatty acids. Our immune system loves omega 3 fatty acids. So make sure you're eating a lot of tune or salmon or those types of things to help our immune system over the wintertime. Garlic. Garlic contains allicin. Allicinn is a great immune fighter. That's why people who eat a lot of garlic hardly ever get any colds over the wintertime. It won't surprise anyone that fruits and vegetables help improve our immune system, especially fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamin A and C. In addition to consuming healthy foods, we also need to make sure we're consuming plenty of water. About 80 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Hot tea is a great way to stay hydrated. It can be very soothing and help an inflamed throat and help relieve congestion. Also try to avoid sweetened beverages. The old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So matter what time of year, we always need to help our immune system to stay as healthy as possible. So eat a healthy diet, exercise and always practice good hand washing. I'm Cindy Gates, dietitian at Regional Health."