Eat Your Way to a Stronger Immune System!
BY ABBY PRATT, CHOP5 NUTRITION BLOGGER
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has affected each and every one of you reading this. Life was on pause for what felt like forever. Keep washing those hands and avoid touching your faces. Keep feeding your immune system the right stuff so it can take care of you! There is no need to run out to the store and spend hundreds of dollars on pills and powders to boost your immune system. You can do it by eating the right stuff.
10 IMMUNE BOOSTING FOODS
- Broccoli – these little trees are full of a variety of vitamins and minerals which makes it the perfect player to have on your immune boosting team. Vitamin A, C, and E are all found in broccoli as well as many antioxidants and fiber. The best way to eat it for immune effects is raw (steaming a close 2nd). Cooking it burns off some of those great qualities.
- Ginger – there may be a connection between ginger and reducing inflammation. Ginger also may aid in reducing nausea. Did your mom ever have you drink ginger ale for an upset stomach? That is why!
- Sunflower Seeds – so easy to chuck a few on your salad! They may be small but they are packed with phosphorus, magnesium, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B-6.
- Spinach – channel your inner Popeye and consume a whole can of spinach. Oh no? you don’t want to do that? Fine, let CHOP5 Salad Kitchen mix it in to a delicious salad for you. Spinach is rich in Vitamin C and tons of great antioxidants. Like broccoli, it has more nutritious value when raw.
- Sweet Potato – they are high in Vitamin A which aids in the fighting of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can cause cell damage. Damaged or weakened cells lead to a compromised immune system.
- Poultry – once again mom was on to something with that chicken noodle soup on a sick day. Chicken and other poultry contain high levels of Vitamin B-6. We need B-6 to help create new red blood cells. The more young and healthy cells we have the better. Poultry has been connected to lowering inflammation that can occur with cold or flu. Even broth or stock made with poultry bones has immune boosting effects.
- Citrus Fruits – this includes grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, lemons, limes, and clementines. These fruits all share one immune boosting factor: Vitamin C. Vitamin C increases white blood cells, which are your warrior cells in your immune system.
- Acai Berries – these guys are full of antioxidants and taste so yummy blended up and topped with some granola. Antioxidants slow down cell damage.
- Yogurt – look out for labels that state “live cultures” or “active cultures.” This refers to how the yogurt is prepared. You want the cultures because they have been connected to lowering the risk of certain diseases and they are full of probiotics (good bacteria that help your gut function properly).
- Oysters – Zinc is the key player here. Oysters are full of zinc which has virus fighting powers. It wakes up those white blood cells mentioned above.
I personally enjoy a delicious, flavorful salad much more than trying to choke down some weird tasting powder that is full of ingredients I can’t pronounce. Looks like my go to CHOP5 order would be spinach as my base, add broccoli, sunflower seeds, roasted sweet potato, rotisserie chicken breast and sesame ginger dressing. Eating a balanced diet full of variety will help keep you healthy and get back to doing what you love and stay safe.
Chop well. Eat well. Live well.