Jan 18, 2013 12:00 PM by Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- As U.S. health officials recommend flu shots and frequent hand washing for protection during this season's influenza outbreak, dietitians point to another significant defense weapon: healthy foods.
Immune-boosting foods can improve your ability to ward off the flu and other health problems, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Even a small nutritional deficiency can affect the body's ability to stay healthy, said Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian and academy spokesperson.
"A strong immune system doesn't guarantee your body can fight off every flu bug, but it is a powerful defense," said Mangieri in an academy news release. "Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune response."
Mangieri provided the following overview of foods that may boost the immune system:
If you're unsure about what foods to eat to boost your immune system, Mangieri said a registered dietitian can help.
"A registered dietitian can help ensure you're getting the nutrients your body needs to function and protect itself," Mangieri explained.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on the seasonal flu.