I think we can all agree that the news is pretty stressful these days. Even amid so much uncertainty, though, we can still take a proactive approach and use this opportunity to focus on our health and well being.
Last week's post focused on how to reduce stress and boost your immune system. That post covered all kinds of ways you can uplevel your wellness game these days, including prioritizing quality sleep, meditation, exercise, and nutrition.
This week, I want to take a deeper dive into the nutrition part — covering 12 immune-boosting foods to try this week.
Immune-boosting foods that are high in vitamin C
We all know that vitamin C can help keep the immune system strong, but did you know that oranges aren't actually the best sources of vitamin C? Check out this list of immune-boosting foods that are high in vitamin C:
- Broccoli: Plenty of vitamin C in this vegetable, plus cancer-fighting antioxidants and fiber.
- Cauliflower: Also high in vitamin C, as well as fiber and protein. It's true: plants have protein, too!
- Brussels sprouts: These may not seem like a vitamin C-rich food, but they definitely are. Roast some up for some healthy vitamin C vibes.
- Kale: What doesn't that vegetable do? Also really high in vitamin A, which is great for eyes, skin and hair.
- Bell peppers: a cup of chopped red bell pepper contains nearly three times more vitamin C than an orange. A green bell pepper offers less vitamin C than sweet peppers, but it'll still provide 200% of the daily dietary recommendation.
- Chili peppers: If you like things hot, a half-cup of chopped peppers provide plenty of vitamin C.
- Papaya: This fruit gets more attention for its digestive health benefits, but it's also high in vitamin C.
- Strawberries: My favorite (sweet) way to get more vitamin C. Enjoy a cup of berries plain, or in a smoothie.
- Pineapple: Throw some pineapple into a smoothie for tropical flavor, digestive enzymes, and vitamin C.
- Sweet potato: Just one cup provides half of your daily dietary recommendation for vitamin C.
Try garlic to boost your immune system
Did you know that garlic is an immune system boosting rockstar? It is antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal!
Not too shabby for an inexpensive vegetable you can find in any store… or grow in your own garden.
Allicin, one of the powerful compounds in garlic, can kill many of the microorganisms responsible for infections, including the common cold.
In addition, garlic has been shown to help reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and reduce risk for breast, colon, stomach, and esophageal cancer.
Eating a clove or two of raw garlic is the best and most effective method of reaping garlic's benefits. Those capsules you see at the store just aren't as effective. In fact, one study of garlic supplements found that it might take up to 27 capsules to obtain the same amount of garlic power found in just a half of a clove of crushed raw garlic. Source: Nutritionfacts.org
So get some garlic into your diet! I use it pretty much every day: in cooking, of course, but I like to use it raw in sauces, salad dressing, guacamole, and hummus. You could even sprinkle some chopped or pressed garlic over a rice/grain bowl.
Get some ginger into your life
In Asia, ginger has been used medicinally for centuries. This powerful rhizome has also been studied in modern medicine for its positive effect on digestion, brain health, blood sugar regulation, joint pain, cholesterol levels, and cancer risk reduction.
Ginger has also been shown to have antiviral capabilities against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV).
Ginger is easily found in most grocery stores. To use, simply peel the outer skin off, chop, and use in your stir-fries and soups. I also like to use freshly grated ginger in my smoothies and dressings. Lastly, you can cut ginger into thin slices and then brew in hot water for 10-20 minutes, strain, and enjoy with lemon juice and some honey.
Looking for some immune-boosting recipes using these ingredients? Check out some of my faves below:
- Strawberry Hemp Smoothie
- Kale and Quinoa Salad with Blueberries
- Healthy Green Soup in the Instant Pot (broccoli and kale)
- Thai Curry Cauliflower Soup
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Salad
- Thai Chopped Salad with Ginger Lime Vinaigrette
- Corn and Red Pepper Chowder
- Smoky Sweet Potato Bisque
I hope these tips and recipes help you get some immune-boosting ingredients into your meal plan in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, you can find me over on Instagram. I'd love to connect with you there!