As the weather cools down, we are getting excited for all things fall. While we’re participating in fun seasonal activities with those we love most, we should consider to think healthily with our food choices to boost our immune system. Did you know that one of the best ways to strengthen your immune system is through the foods we eat? Let’s outline a few of my favorite delicious “superfoods” to keep you healthy this holiday season.
Yogurt: Yogurt is full of healthy probiotics that your gut needs. Much of the immune system is derived in the gut, so nourishing your gut with good probiotics can help prevent or reduce the side effects of the common cold. Yogurt is an easy treat to incorporate into your diet since you can eat it plain, in bowls, or add it to smoothies for that extra creamy boost.
Blueberries: Blueberries are full of antioxidants that help fight off free radicals. Free radicals are essentially unstable stomas in the body that contribute to illness and aging. According to recent studies, blueberries can nearly double the immune system’s ability to fight off infection. Don’t hesitate to add a handful of blueberries to your daily diet or to top your yogurt.
Kiwi: You may have heard that vitamin C is an important nutrient to protect us from pathogens and diseases. Instead of taking it as an oral supplement, why not get greater benefit by actually eating foods rich in vitamin C? Kiwis are a great snack option, as well as citrus fruits, guava, yellow peppers, and even adding thyme to foods for flavor.
Beans and Lentils: These are full of zinc. You may be familiar with zinc as it’s been a common suggestion for daily oral supplementation to boost the immune system around the COVID-19 virus. But what’s better than taking an oral supplement? Choosing whole grain foods full of zinc. Beans and lentils are primary sources of protein and carbohydrates amongst “blue zones” of the world which are known to have populations that live the longest. These populations have diets that primarily consist of whole grains, beans and lentils. The vitamins and nutrients found in these foods are commonly linked in research to reduce inflammation and boost immunity to prevent illness. Because beans and lentils are high in fiber, it is suggested to slowly incorporate these in your diet to test your body’s ability to digest without stomach discomfort.
Overall, there are several key foods that can help you stay healthy this fall and winter. Other suggested foods are increasing salmon for omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. To add these immune fighting foods to your diet, consider choosing one of the above to incorporate in your diet on a weekly basis. Small changes and incorporation will lead to best results. Maybe you haven’t had these foods in a while and you may be reminded that you do actually enjoy them. Stay healthy this holiday season!
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