Whether you’re already fighting a virus or you’re about to head into flu season, it’s always a good idea to be armed with a strong immune system. You may not know it, but there are several marijuana strains that can help you deal with the symptoms that accompany the flu, especially those high in CBD. Research has shown that CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve a scratchy throat or nasal pressure that often comes with sinus infections. Beyond that, there are numerous stoner-friendly foods that can help boost your immune system when the munchies come on. Read on for a few favorites.
1. Crystallized or Candied Ginger
Like CBD, ginger relieves inflammation and can also reduce pain, such as body aches and a sore throat. While ginger can be spicy on its own, crystallized or candied ginger is sweet, but just as nutritionally beneficial. Not only can it improve your flu, but it will also strengthen your gut.
2. Dark Chocolate-Covered Almonds
Eating almonds regularly could help protect people from catching a virus as well as help those already infected to fight off illness. In an interview with The Telegraph, Dr. Giuseppina Mandalari from the Institute of Food Research says, “Almond skins are able to stimulate the immune response and thus contribute to an antiviral immune defense.” Research has also shown that cocoa boosts the immune system by supporting T-helper cells. Putting the two together sounds like a nutritional match made in heaven.
It’s no wonder that tangerines — that small citrus fruit that looks like a tiny orange — peak during flu season. The tasty fruit provides 53 percent of the vitamin C daily needs and almost everyone knows that vitamin C is key to fighting infections. As a bonus, vitamin C can also reduce cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
4. Red Bell Peppers and Hummus
While most people consider oranges and other citrus fruits when they think of where to get their vitamin C, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also packed with beta-carotene, which keeps your eyes and skin healthy. Although you can work bell peppers into a variety of meals (fajitas, anyone?), pairing the immune-boosting wonder with your favorite hummus is a healthy and easy snack. After all, chickpeas — the main ingredient in hummus — gives you 25 percent of your day’s worth of zinc, which is a crucial nutrient to keeping the immune system running as it should.
5. Greek Yogurt With Berries
Greek yogurt is a fantastic source of both protein and probiotics. Protein, one of the three nutrients that provide energy, is important for the body’s immune system, nerves and fluid balance. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can also help boost your immune system and relieve stomach issues, such as diarrhea and pain. Pairing Greek yogurt with berries packs an even bigger nutritional punch, as berries are loaded with antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
6. Turmeric Latte
Looking for a healthy, sweet drink to boost your immune system? Lattes made from turmeric can help fight inflammation and also contain a high concentration of curcumin, which has been found to “resurrect” the immune system.
Any time of year is the perfect occasion to strengthen your immune system. The next time your stomach grumbles — whether you’ve consumed marijuana or not — consider reaching for one of these powerful immune boosting foods before that bag of chips.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist. Her work has appeared in TIME, Health, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, Women's Health, The Telegraph and VICE. She lives in Los Angeles.