Tasty foods for boosting your immune system this season!
While the word “superfood” might conjure images of vegetables donning capes and fighting crime, it isn’t as ridiculous a metaphor as it sounds. Foods that are nutrient-rich and packed with healthy vitamins and minerals can boost immune systems and help ward off illnesses that many families suffer through all winter long. These foods are highly nutritious and they can be pretty tasty too, making them easy to offer kids (or at least sneak into some heavily-disguised kid-friendly meal).
Avocado. Avocado has high levels of essential fatty acids and vitamin B6, which is important in the biosynthesis of important neurotransmitters. Foods high in B vitamins may be able to counteract some of the symptoms of winter-related depression.
Cranberries. Cranberries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants. The nutrients in cranberries have been linked to a lower risk of urinary tract infections, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.
Pomegranate. This quirky fruit has vitamins C and K, folate and potassium and is a good source of fiber. Pomegranate has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in reducing joint pain and preventing strokes. Pomegranate may also help the body fight viruses.
Sweet Potatoes. One cup of baked sweet potato provides nearly half of your daily vitamin C needs. The same portion also supplies 400%(!) of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Both nutrients are vital for supporting immune function, which is especially important during cold and flu season.
Pears. Pears are an excellent source of fiber, good source of vitamin C, and provides 190 mg of potassium. Studies have shown pears decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and a lower weight.
Salmon. This popular fish is an excellent source of high-quality protein, vitamins and minerals (including potassium, selenium and vitamin B12). With a very high content of omega-3 fatty acids it is considered a valuable ‘brain food.”
Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best known sources of antioxidants known. It could improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, regulate cholesterol level, reduce heart disease risk, and improve brain function,
Cinnamon. Cinnamon has high levels of antioxidants, and some studies point to cinnamon as a natural antibacterial agent. Cinnamon also can help regulate blood-glucose levels, which is beneficial for those with diabetes.
Prunes. Sometimes referred to as “dried plums,” prunes are an important source of boron, which could prevent osteoporosis. High in antioxidants, prunes help the body fight a variety of illnesses.
Cabbage. Cabbage may be a key element in the fight against cancer. Cabbage has phytochemicals that can protect the body against cancer-causing free radicals. It’s also a good source of dietary fiber, which can stimulate a sluggish digestive system.
Butternut squash. This food is packed with carotenoids, which are stellar antioxidants. The starches in this squash also have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Chestnuts. Chestnuts are worthy of inclusion in anyone’s diet. Unlike many nuts, chestnuts are relatively low in fat but have high levels of protein. They’re also packed with vitamin C and B vitamins.