An effective (and delicious!) way to be proactive about your health is to regularly feast on foods known to help keep the immune system strong. While this is far from a comprehensive list, we especially love the following fruits and veggies because they’re easy to find in major grocery stores, full of craveable flavor, and packed with beneficial vitamins and nutrients. So stock up, and enjoy!
We know that vitamin C is great for fighting a cold, but why not stay ahead of the game? Instead of waiting until you’re under the weather, begin incorporating citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, tangerines and limes into your daily diet now. Your immune system will thank you. (P.S. Not an orange fan? Kiwis are another tasty source of vitamin C!)
Full of nutritional fiber, antioxidants and vitamins, broccoli packs a punch of good-for-you ingredients. While there are many delicious ways to enjoy broccoli, the veggie is at its most nutritious when minimally cooked, so try it quickly blanched or raw.
Found in almost every cuisine around the world, fresh garlic is widely loved for its intense flavor and nutritional benefits. A little can go a long way toward helping to lower blood pressure, fighting infections, and boosting the immune system. Add some to your next pasta, stir-fry or salad dressing.
- Red bell peppers
Speaking of salads…Brighten up your next one with crisp slices of raw red bell pepper! The eye-catching vegetable contains twice as much vitamin C as citrus, and it is also a rich source of beta carotene.
While it’s not as talked about as vitamin C, vitamin E is also key to maintaining a healthy immune system—and almonds are a wonderful source. In fact, a half-cup serving provides nearly 100% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E. They’re also a good source of plant-based protein, making them a great hunger-killing snack.
Leafy greens like spinach and kale have beta carotene, vitamin C and countless antioxidants to keep your immune system in fighting shape. Like broccoli, spinach best retains its nutrients when raw. Add a handful to a salad, or blend it into a smoothie.
- Sunflower seeds
Don’t let their size fool you; sunflower seeds are packed with nutrients, including phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin B-6, and vitamin E. Plus, they add a fun crunch to any salad, stir-fry or snack.
- Green tea
While both green and black teas are rich in antioxidants, green tea offers more bang for your buck in the form of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, known to enhance immune function. Green tea also offers a good dose of the amino acid L-theanine, which may help produce germ-fighting compounds.
A common ingredient in cold-fighting remedies, ginger may help reduce a sore throat and other inflammatory illnesses. It’s also known to decrease nausea, ease chronic pain, and even lower cholesterol. To reap its nutritional benefits, it’s best to enjoy your ginger fresh (versus powder) in sweet and savory preparations.
Of course, we couldn’t leave out our favorite immunity-boosting food of all! Along with being a great source of gut-healthy nutritional fiber, jackfruit is rich in vitamins A and C, which are both known to help ward off illness. Jackfruit’s high calcium content strengthens bones, while iron, magnesium and copper help improve blood and thyroid function. Easy to enjoy in sweet or savory dishes, super-versatile jackfruit is really the jack of all foods.
Find a variety of jackfruit recipes here to help get you started, and get to #KnowJack today!