Preventing illness is always important, and with the onset of COVID-19, it’s become a top priority for just about everyone. Physical distancing, washing hands, and wearing cloth masks are the primary ways to help more people stay well.
You can also boost your immune system by managing stress; getting plenty of sleep; practicing good hygiene; and — you guessed it — eating a well-balanced diet with protein, carbohydrates, fats, and lots of fruits and vegetables.
No single nutrient can protect you from illness, but regularly eating a variety of nutrients boosts your immune system. Look for these immune-supportive nutrients and foods that contain them:
- Vitamin C: citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit), red and green bell peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli, strawberries, potatoes, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin D: rainbow trout, salmon, mushrooms, fortified milk, sardines, fortified breakfast cereals, and eggs.
- Beta-carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, squash, cantaloupe, and red and yellow peppers.
- Zinc: oysters, beef, crab, lobster, pork, beans, and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Protein: meats, seafood, eggs, beans, and peas.
- Probiotics: yogurt, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi.
Want to get started now? Try foods from the vitamin C list, some of which happen to be great snacks, then take it to the next level with one of our great recipes!
Orange-Peach Green Smoothie
Kick-start your day with this smoothie as part of a balanced breakfast or refuel with it as a stand-alone afternoon snack. An 8-ounce serving contains 70 milligrams of vitamin C.
7 fresh medium oranges
2 medium apples
7 ounces frozen unsweetened sliced peaches
4 ounces baby spinach
1 ¾ cups unsweetened apple juice
Step 1: On a cutting board, segment and chop the oranges.
Step 2: Slice the apples.
Step 3: In a blender, add all the ingredients. Put the lid on the blender, and pulse the ingredients until they’re smooth.
Step 4: Garnish with a fresh orange slice and enjoy!
This broccoli pairs perfectly with grilled chicken or fish and makes a great addition to a rice or noodle bowl. A ½-cup serving contains 54 milligrams of vitamin C.
2 pounds broccoli bunches
3 fresh garlic cloves
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350⁰F.
Step 2: On a cutting board, cut the broccoli into spears or florets.
Step 3: Peel and mince the garlic.
Step 4: On a sheet pan, toss the broccoli with the oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and roast the broccoli for 10-15 minutes, until it’s tender and slightly browned.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Stay tuned for more recipes that include foods from each of these key categories to support your immune system!