Now that we are in the midst of cold and flu season during a worldwide pandemic, it’s more important than ever to stay healthy and strengthen your immune system, especially for sick loved ones who are already immuno-compromised. While there’s no magic supplement or food that will guarantee an illness-free winter, there are many nutrients that will help support your health. We put together a list of seven key foods to work into your and your loved one’s diets this season! In addition to the items below, exercise and quality sleep will help your body stay in fighting shape.
**Talk to your physician before incorporating any of these foods or supplements into your diet.
- Citrus Fruits
Most people tend to consume vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold; however, it’s important to work this nutrient into your diet regularly as it is thought to grow your body’s production of white blood cells, which are vital to fighting infections. Our bodies do not produce or store this vitamin, so it’s needed daily to maintain health. The recommended daily amount for women is 75 mg and 90 mg for men. When it comes to ingesting foods that contain vitamin C, most people jump to oranges; however, nearly all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With so many options available, it’s easy to find a way to work one into a meal or beverage! Check out this article by delicious. for “40 Winter Recipes Packed with Vitamin C” for inspiration.
Many shellfish are very high in zinc, an essential mineral that is responsible for the development and function of your immune cells. Zinc helps your immune system and metabolism function, can shorten a cold, and reduces oxidative stress. The ideal shellfish for zinc consumption are:
Garlic has been used as an antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal agent. It also helps to boost your immune system, and research has found that it aids the body in resisting or destroying viruses and other microorganisms. It has even been thought that garlic can fight infections.
- Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are one of the most abundant natural sources of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is crucial to a healthy immune system, and low blood levels have been linked to reduced immunity.
Spinach contains a high content of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, and iron. The nutrients in spinach help to fight off infections as well as replenish the blood cells to give a boost to the immune system. To obtain the maximum benefits of this superfood, try eating it raw or lightly cooked to preserve its nutrients. Or you could try this green smoothie recipe from FoodieCrush.
The active ingredient in ginger, gingerol, has been shown to help fight infections, including the RSV virus. Ginger is also known to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidative. Studies have demonstrated that supplementing with ginger can also help improve indigestion, decrease bloating, and reduce intestinal cramping.
Broccoli is rich in antioxidant vitamins that give your immune system a boost. In addition to high levels of potassium and folate, broccoli is also a great source of immune-boosting vitamin C. Additionally, it contains choline, which helps support a healthy gastrointestinal barrier, keeping bacteria safely confined in your stomach.