Superfoods and Vitamins that Help Boost Immunity
It’s cold and flu season, and you can keep yourself healthy by eating well. Due to recent concerns about COVID-19, it’s extra important to ensure your immune system is at its strongest. You can make your immune system stronger through eating a balanced diet full of lean proteins, a variety of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and lots of water. There are certain foods, termed “superfoods,” that can give you an extra boost of health benefits. And some of them may surprise you!
Superfoods are rich in nutrients and are good for your health. If you’re looking to try something new and stay healthy this season, consider adding any of the following to your menu:
- Vitamin C. While you may be used to getting your daily dose of vitamin C in citrus fruits such as oranges, limes, grapefruits, lemons, tangerines and clementines, there are other unlikely suspects you may not have considered. Bell peppers, tomatoes and papaya also contain high concentrations of vitamin C, helping your body produce white blood cells to fight off infections, and rid you of cold and flu-causing germs and viruses.
- Dark leafy greens and vegetables. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, contain fiber, antioxidants and vitamins A, C and K. These nutrients may reduce symptoms of sickness and the common cold. Dark green vegetables are also an excellent source of nutrients, including folate, zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium, which help reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Garlic. Did you know garlic contains many vitamins and minerals that combat the common cold? Garlic helps your body fight off infections and supports your immune system due to its probiotic and antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Ginger. It may not be obvious, but ginger is a food that can prevent sickness—and can also provide relief. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory that can help you fight off illness. It’s also an antioxidant and an antimicrobial that contains cancer-fighting properties. Plus, ginger is a great natural remedy for nausea, sore throats and inflammation.
- Yogurt. Yogurt contains live and active cultures that aid your digestive system. The vitamin D in yogurt also helps stimulate your immune system to fight disease.
- Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage, aids the body in fighting off infection and improves your immune function. Foods that include vitamin E include almonds, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach and peanuts.
- Turmeric. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant, often used in holistic medicine as a digestive aid and wound healer. Turmeric may help prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer, while also improving symptoms of depression and arthritis.
- Green tea. Green tea is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, as it contains antioxidants that act as a powerful antibacterial and antiviral to help kill off cold bacteria and the influenza virus. It’s packed with amino acids that have been shown to aid in the production of germ-fighting compounds.
- Vitamin B6. This vitamin is vital to supporting biochemical reactions in the immune system. A deficiency in vitamin B6 could lead to a series of serious complications. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include chicken, fish such as salmon and tuna, tofu, bananas, avocados and chickpeas.
- Vitamin D. This nutrient helps promote strong teeth and bones, and helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. A deficiency in vitamin D can cause health complications in children and adults. Besides spending some time in the sun, you can get your daily dose of vitamin D by consuming fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, milk, and even some breakfast cereals.
- Blueberries. This superfruit is the top choice from doctors and nutritionists. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C that help your immune system. Plus, they may lower your risk of heart disease and act as an anti-inflammatory.
- Flaxseed. Omega-3 fatty acids speed up cell metabolism and reduce inflammation in the body, reducing triglyceride levels and lowering blood pressure. One of the easiest ways to get them is from ground flaxseed. Try sprinkling some on oatmeal or baked dishes to incorporate into your diet.
Eat foods from every color of the rainbow
While vitamins and supplements can help fill in the gaps in your diet, the best way to load up on essential nutrients is to get them straight from food. Your body absorbs and uses vitamins and nutrients better when they come from a dietary source. Eating food from every color of the rainbow can help ensure you’re incorporating your daily nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
Please note: Consult your doctor or health care professional before altering your diet or adding in vitamins and dietary supplements. Vitamins and supplements may cause interactions with current medication and they should not be used as a replacement for a healthy lifestyle.
Start living healthier now!
What you eat can help you feel your healthiest on the inside and look your best on the outside. Get started by gradually adding some of these foods to your daily routine to prevent you from getting sick. Slowly modifying your menu to include these immunity-boosting superfoods can lead you to an overall happier, healthier life.
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This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant as medical advice.