Immunity support starts with these superfood all stars
Cold and flu season is upon us and with COVID-19 still affecting Americans in every part of our country, it’s now more important than ever to strengthen your immunity. Not only does the immune system help protect from various infections such as the common cold, influenza, and perhaps even COVID-19 — but it can also reduce seasonal allergy symptoms and even prevent certain types of cancer. To keep your immune system functioning at optimal levels, make sure to include these nutrient-rich superfoods in your diet.
100% orange juice is loaded with vitamin C, B vitamins, hesperidin, and powerful antioxidants that are essential for your overall health. Vitamin C is especially important when your immune system is compromised because it combats free radicals in the body and boosts white cell production, which is vital to protecting and strengthening your immune system. What’s more, vitamin C is known to have an antihistamine effect that reduces the severity of cold symptoms. Consuming vitamin C regularly is optimal because the body doesn’t store or produce it. Conveniently, one eight-ounce glass of 100% orange juice contains 120% of your RDA for vitamin C. We’ll sip to that!
This kitchen staple has not only been connected to reduced disease risk and improved mental health, but it can boost your immune system, too. When whole garlic is crushed, a compound called alliin turns into allicin, which gives garlic it’s medicinal functionality. Studies suggest that a daily dose of raw garlic (or in the form of an aged extract) can help to reduce your cold and flu symptoms –– or prevent illness altogether.
Sweet potatoes get their rich orange color from beta carotene, a natural antioxidant that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Data suggests that vitamin A may strengthen your immune system and gut health. Sweet potatoes are versatile and can be easily incorporated in your diet for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Festive, delicious, and nutritious, pumpkins are packed with immune-supporting nutrients like beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your body. Studies demonstrate that vitamin A may strengthen the immune system and help fight infections. Pumpkin also contains vitamin C for an even better nutritional punch.
Reach for plain yogurt with live and active cultures. These “good bugs” contribute to overall immune and gut health. Yogurt is also a great source of vitamin D which helps to regulate your immune system and naturally ward off disease. Many yogurts at the store are loaded with sugar, so opt for a Greek or plain yogurt and sweeten it with natural honey or fruit.
Packed with vitamins A, C, E, fiber, calcium and folate, broccoli is one of the healthiest superfoods you can add to your diet. It also contains a compound known as kaempferol that helps to lessen the impact of any allergy related substances on your body. For maximized immune boosting benefits, it’s best to consume broccoli raw. It can lose its nutrients in the cooking process.