Everybody knows that the world is in an unsettling state at the moment. Health is a priority for most people, particularly immune health. Besides staying active and getting enough sleep, another way to improve your immune system is by eating well.
Eating certain foods available in health food stores such as Health Matters can keep your immunity system strong and capable year-round.
Such foods include vegetables and fruits that are rich in zinc and vitamin C, as well as foods rich in other immune-boosting substances, like vitamin A, probiotics, and collagen. Here are our top picks:
Vitamin E usually takes the backseat when it comes to preventing colds – everybody talks about vitamin C.
However, vitamin E is a pretty potent antioxidant and a serious immunity booster. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it can only be absorbed properly with the presence of fat. That’s precisely where almonds come in – they have healthy fats and are packed with vitamin E.
This vegetable is supercharged with minerals and vitamins. It’s among the healthiest vegetables you can pick at the store, as it’s loaded with antioxidants, fiber, as well as vitamins E, A, and C.
How to keep broccoli’s power intact? The answer is pretty straightforward – don’t overcook it. Light steaming is all you need.
Once they catch a cold, most people immediately turn to vitamin C. This essential micronutrient helps fight infections by increasing the production of white blood cells.
Fortunately, the widely-available citrus fruits are very rich in vitamin C. There’s a huge variety to choose from – lemons, oranges, limes, kumquats, tangerines, grapefruit, clementines, etc.
When it comes to strengthening your immunity, green tea is always a good choice. It’s loaded with antioxidants such as epigallocatechin gallate and flavonoids, which enhance the body’s immune function.
Moreover, green tea is rich in L-theanine. This amino acid can help your T cells produce more germ-fighting compounds.
Another ingredient sick people often turn to is ginger. The root of this plant can decrease inflammation, which comes in very handy with inflammatory illnesses such as arthritis. It also provides relief to sore throats and other respiratory symptoms connected to the flu.
Ginger can also decrease chronic pain. Furthermore, it helps with nausea and possesses impressive cholesterol-lowering properties. That’s a serious amount of power for a plant often used in sweet desserts. Who would have thought?
Red Bell Peppers
Those thinking that nothing has more vitamin C than citrus fruits should think again.
An ounce of Florida orange has three times less vitamin C than an ounce of red bell peppers. Pretty surprising, isn’t it? Red bell peppers are also very rich in beta carotene.
Besides improving one’s immune system, vitamin C keeps the skin healthy. Beta carotene, on the other hand, is converted into vitamin A inside the body and helps maintain healthy eyes.
When buying yogurt at your local health food store, look for the ones with labels saying “live and active cultures”. You’ve probably already heard good things about yogurt cultures – they help fight diseases by stimulating your immune system.
Plain yogurts are a much better choice than flavored ones, which are usually full of sugar or other sweeteners. Keep in mind that you can always sweeten your plain yogurt with honey and fruits.
Garlic has been used for thousands of years in many cuisines around the globe. Besides adding a little zing to your meals, it also has a plethora of health benefits.
The immune-boosting properties of this vegetable come from allicin and other compounds containing sulfur. Garlic also helps with lowering blood pressure and it slows down hardening of the arteries.
The fact that it’s packed with vitamin C is not the only great thing about spinach.
This vegetable is also rich in beta carotene and numerous antioxidants. As you probably already know, these boost the immune system and make it easier to fight infections.
Just like broccoli, Spinach should never be overcooked – you want to retain its nutrients.
Another fruit loaded with vitamin C is papaya. Eating a single medium fruit puts you at over the daily recommended dosage of vitamin C.
Furthermore, papayas contain elements that are beneficial to your overall health, such as folate, magnesium, and potassium. Papain, a digestive enzyme present in this fruit, has anti-inflammatory properties.
The 10 health food store picks we listed above should boost your immune system and keep you healthy and safe all year round. However, avoid sticking with just one of these foods – the key to proper nutrition is variety.