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!