With cold and flu season approaching in the U.S., keeping your family healthy becomes even more critical. With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, immunity has become a popular topic of discussion.
What is immunity?
Simply put, immunity is our body’s ability to fight off diseases. Different factors can affect the immune system, but one way to increase its ability to work properly is by consuming specific vitamins and minerals through diet.
Which vitamins are good for boosting immunity?
According to experts at The Cleveland Clinic, these are the three essential vitamins for a healthy immune system.
- Vitamin C: According to heathline.org, low vitamin C levels link to an increased risk of infections and illness. This vitamin supports the function of various immune cells and enhances their ability to protect against disease.
- Vitamin E: The body also needs vitamin E to boost its immune system to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. It helps to widen blood vessels and keep blood from clotting within them. Also, cells use vitamin E to interact with each other and to carry out many vital functions.
- Vitamin B6: Supports chemical reactions in the immune system.
While many people and their families are accustomed to taking vitamins, you can get your daily dose of vitamins by adding foods that are high in these vitamins to your diet.
Here are our ten favorite immunity-boosting foods to help keep you and your family’s immune system healthy for cold and flu season.
This type of fruit, including oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and tangerines, are vitamin C powerhouses. For example, half of a large grapefruit contains 64% of the recommended daily vitamin C value.
Integrating any of these fruits into your diet is a great way to increase your vitamin C intake. Citrus fruits like lemon, lime, and some varieties of orange and grapefruit are available year-round.
Praised for its nutritional benefits, spinach is a food you want to eat more often. Rich in Iron and Vitamins A, C, and K, the vitamins in spinach help bring oxygen to the body’s different parts. Enjoy it raw in a salad with balsamic vinegar and feta cheese or steamed.
Nuts and Seeds
Foods like almonds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts contain healthy fats, and Vitamin E. Incorporate these into your diet as a snack or as a topping to bowls and salads.
Bell peppers are loaded with Vitamin C, making them the perfect immunity-boosting food. However, opt for the red bell peppers when eating them for vitamin C; red bell peppers have more than 50% more vitamin c and eleven times more beta carotene than their green counterparts. Dice them up and add them to soups, salads, and stirfries.
This rich and creamy fruit is also rich in many different essential vitamins. One hundred gram serving of avocado contains healthy amounts of vitamins E, C, and B6, making them an excellent choice for promoting immune health. Try avocado in delicious guacamole dip or a sandwich.
This tropical fruit is full of vitamin C, about 103% of the recommended daily value. Papaya is can be eaten diced as a snack on its own, or try it paired with honey, granola, and cottage cheese.
This root has been used for its medicinal qualities for centuries, and for good reason. Aside from containing trace amounts of vitamins, gingerol’s real benefit comes from gingerol, which science suggests is anti-inflammatory and provides antioxidant benefits. Drinking fresh ginger tea can help you relieve cold and flu symptoms.
Another tropical fruit, one small guava provides a whopping 209% of the recommended daily Vitamin C intake. Eat them solo or blended into an agua fresca.
Not only does kiwi help to boost immunity (according to this study,) but it also helps with many other ailments, such as:
- Vision Loss
Finally, this cruciferous vegetable is another great food to help improve immune health and fight off flu. One one-cup serving of broccoli provides 135% of the daily recommended value. If your kids aren’t too fond of the veggie, try serving it topped with grated parmesan or a cheddar cheese sauce.
Feeding your family nutritious food is imperative to good health, so add these ten foods to your arsenal this cold and flu season (and all year long) for improved immune health!
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