Staying healthy and boosting your immune system often begin with how you fuel your body. Good news, giving your immune system a swift kick is likely much easier than you think.
Everything you need to power up your natural defenses can be found right outside your door and at the local grocery store.
Foods that are high in colorful compounds called carotenoids — carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe and squash — are all rich options. The body turns these carotenoids into Vitamin A, which has an antioxidant effect to help strengthen the immune system against infection.
Abundant in most citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, limes and clementines, Vitamin C helps increase the production of white blood cells, which help our bodies fight infections.
My personal favorite, Vitamin D, also known as the “Sunshine Vitamin”. Our bodies aren’t well equipped to absorb it from foods, so the best way to get this immune system boost is to step outside and soak up a few rays (after putting on sunscreen, of course). Here in Charleston we are fairly spoiled when it comes to Vitamin D access.
Not only is Vitamin D good for the body, but it will do wonders for your mood and help you sleep better at night.
Another powerful antioxidant that may fortify and lengthen cell life, Vitamin E is found in foods like almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and sunflower seeds.
Did you know broccoli is rich in vitamin A, C and E? No wonder our parents made us eat it all the time growing up. Nosh on some broccoli out in the sunshine and you’re knocking this immunity boosting game out of the ballpark.
Pro tip, the less cooked your veggies are, the more micronutrients they will retain.
Keep in mind that, depending on the season, you may not always be able to get your hands on high-quality fresh produce. Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good here as frozen produce is also fine. Manufacturers freeze frozen fruits and veggies at “peak” ripeness, which means they’ll pack a similar nutritional value as their fresh counterparts. Just choose plain frozen foods rather than those with added sugars or sodium.
The main takeaway here is that most of these immunity-boosting micronutrients are often packed together in a colorful fruit or a vegetable. If you want to strengthen your immune system, start by incorporating colorful produce into your diet, take advantage of what nature has to offer and don’t over complicate it.
If you’re interested in learning more about clean eating and naturally boosting your immune system, let’s chat.