If you’re looking to boost your immune system right now, there are probably a lot of things in your house that you can use to promote good health and give you an edge. If you’re making a big shopping list of essentials for a long stay at home, then these might need to jump to higher spots on your list.
First Things First
The best things you can do for yourself in general are pretty straightforward. Your body needs regular exercise and plenty of sleep. You should not be smoking. If you drink, you should do it in moderation. Eat a lot of fruits and veggies, drink more water, and wash your hands frequently.
Vitamins with Super Powers
When boosting your immune system, there are a few vitamins that are key. Vitamin C is essential. B vitamins are key to immune system functioning. Vitamin D is believed to reduce the risk of viral infections, and zinc can help boost white blood cells. Finally, vitamin E and beta-carotenes are powerful antioxidants.
So how do we get these things into our bodies?
A diet that includes fruits and veggies of different colors is a good start. Different plants have different super powers, and eating a variety ensures that you’re fortifying your body holistically. Chicken, nuts, and yogurt are all key to a healthier you.
Let’s get more specific:
- Citrus is an obvious choice for vitamin C, but did you know that red bell peppers can contain twice as much as your favorite fruit?
- Broccoli is a superfood for immune system boosting. It has A, C, E, antioxidants, fiber. Add a little cheese if you’ve got a picky eater and you’ll gain protein and vitamin D while you’re at it.
- Almost every dinner tastes better with garlic and onions. Garlic has sulfur compounds and onions have antioxidants to give you a boost. Both have probiotics, too. Keeping your digestive health strong can go a long way towards fighting infection. Red, yellow, and white onions have different compounds in them. Again, variety is key.
- Yogurt is packed with active cultures and vitamin D. Probiotics, like the ones found in yogurt and fermented foods, are another valuable tool for gut health and your overall health.
- Green or black teas are rich in antioxidants that can enhance your immune function.
- If you eat meat, then you know that chicken and other poultry is a great source of protein. Poultry is also high in B-6, which plays a big role in keeping your body healthy and forming healthy red blood cells. Many broths can be added to soups, or you can just drink them on their own for a pick-me-up.
- Sunflower seeds are jam-packed with vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant. A quarter cup of these gives you over 80% of your suggested daily intake, and it has B-6 to boot.
- Honorable mentions go out to kiwi, spinach, and papaya for their vitamin C levels. Shellfish is a good source of zinc. Almonds are another good source of vitamin E, and you know what they say about an apple a day...
So there you have it. What always makes your list? Do you have any favorite concoctions that never cease to make you feel better? If you’re at the store and they’re out of your first-choice fruits and vegetables, what’s your backup plan? Share your wisdom in the comments section. Let’s keep the conversation going!