As winter turns to spring and the flu season starts to wane, we emerge from our houses out into the sunshine. This increased activity and interaction with the world outside after a long winter can lead to an increased chance of catching a cold. Take charge of your immunity with a few readily available and seasonal foods.
Not only are these packed with protein and healthy fats, almonds also contain the B vitamins niacin and riboflavin, natural energy boosters and stress fighters. A quarter cup serving has 50% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin E, which also boosts the immune system.
The late winter and early spring months are prime time for citrus, including grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and tangerines. These delicious, sunshine-filled orbs pack a wallop of vitamin C and also flavinoids, chemical compounds that activate the immune system.
Acai berries, elderberries, and other berries are packed with antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body that cause aging and cell deterioration. The goji berry is also recognized as a nutritional “superfood,” and all of these berries can be eaten fresh, blended into a smoothie, or eaten dried.
Cabbage is not a flashy vegetable, but it is loaded with glutamine that can strengthen your immune system. Any variety will do; cabbage can be shredded and added to soups and stews, chopped into a salad or a slaw, or pickled and added to a sandwich as a condiment.
Vitamins and supplements
Maybe you aren’t a big fan of eating your veggies, or the variety of local produce is limited as we move into spring. You may be missing vital nutrients that can help boost your immunity. Vitamin D, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E have all been shown to help strengthen the immune system and provide other significant benefits (like fighting infection). Although getting your vitamins through food is always best, a good multivitamin or supplement can help fill in any gaps.
Other foods such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, and green tea also help boost the immune system and reduce your risk of flu. What are your favorite ways to use these immune system boosters?
Image by Liz West via Flickr