The Top Immune-Boosting Foods
Stop Sickness with These Six Stars
Fall is a great time of the year to rest & relax after a busy summer season. It begins with a single falling leaf and you realize the leaves have begun to turn colour. It’s followed by the first evening where you grab your quilt from the cabinet to keep cozy and warm in bed.
But watch out! It’s also that time of year where everywhere you turn someone is sniffling, coughing or feeling sick! Cold and flu season is upon us! To be sure you don’t spend your fall hacking and wheezing, you’ll want to turn to top foods now for protection. Properly feeding your immune system can boost its power to fight off those pesky “bugs” that bring you down.
Here are some top immune-boosting foods to include in your meals this fall.
Citrus Fruits: Loaded with Vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects against infection and enhances immunity. Vitamin C works by increasing the production of white blood cells, which fight off infection. Vitamin C sources include citrus fruits, potatoes, green peppers, strawberries and pineapple.
Sunflower Seeds, Almonds & Avocados: All contain Vitamin E, which is important to a healthy immune system. One function of Vitamin E is that it enhances the production of immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. In fact, research shows that people who eat Vitamin E-rich foods tend to have a higher immunity. Other Vitamin E-rich foods are vegetable oils and grains such as sprouted grains and lentils.
Sweet Potato, Squash, Carrots & Greens: These foods are rich in beta-carotene. As antioxidants, they protect your cells against damage. To enhance the availability of the beta-carotene in these foods, they should be eaten raw or lightly steamed.
Pumpkin Seeds, Lentils & Lima Beans: These tasty eats contain zinc, which helps to strengthen your immune system. Eat zinc-rich foods like these, as well as almonds, sesame seeds, garbanzo beans and sheep yogurt, to get a “germ-fighting” amount of zinc in your diet.
Garlic: This bulb is known for its cold-fighting (and vampire hindering) abilities. The immune-boosting properties of garlic appear to be due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides. You can eat it raw or cooked. Start adding it to your favourite meals today and feel healthier tomorrow!
The Omegas: Omega-3 fats are essential immune boosters. These fats also help strengthen cell membranes, thereby speeding up healing and improving resistance to infection in the body. Omega-3 can be found in foods such as flax oil and flax seeds, chia and hemp seeds, avocado and walnuts.
Eat the right foods now for a sniffle-free, congestion-less, fun-filled fall!
Nourishing Carrot Ginger Soup
Makes 4-6 servings
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups filtered water
2 cups carrots chopped
1-2 cups sweet potatoes or yams or butternut squash, peeled and diced
2-3 medium apples, cored and diced
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tbsp fresh ginger root
*** For added nutrition and a balanced meal, serve with some brown rice and steamed green vegetables such as swiss chard, kale, or broccoli
1. In a large soup pot, sauté the onions in oil on medium heat until they become translucent.
2. Add the water, carrots, sweet potatoes, apples and salt, pepper, nutmeg and ginger. Bring to a low boil.
3. Turn down heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Take 2 ladles’ worth of vegetables and 1 ladle of stock and blend in a blender or food processor until smooth or you can puree the entire pot. Return to soup pot and stir together before serving.