In a post-pandemic world we still want to ensure our health is a priority and one simple step to do so is by eating well. Aside from constant hand-washing, quarantining, sleeping eight hours a night, reducing stress, exercise, and getting enough vitamin D, the foods we eat can boost our immune system. Foods like oranges that are high in vitamin C or yogurt with probiotics can increase our chances of staying healthy post lockdown. Here are eight foods to add to your diet and support your immune system so you can enjoy your summer after a year of quarantine.
Ginger is usually used in Southeast Asian dishes but it’s one of the healthiest spices though the strong flavor may be an acquired taste. You can use ginger in many ways: fresh, dried, powdered, oil, or juice. Ginger is high in antioxidants and has been used to fight the flu and common cold. Slice up some ginger and add it to boiling water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then add in some honey and lemon. Drink it as a tea to reap those benefits. It’s also commonly used in kombucha and if you’re indulging in sushi make sure you’re eating the raw ginger slices.
Broccoli is probably one of those vegetables that we all hated as kids but have learned to love as an adult. It’s a cruciferous veggie which means it may cause a bit of gas but it’s a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. In fact, one cup of raw broccoli has 135 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. This vegetable plays an important role in both the prevention and treatment of various illnesses. Enjoy it roasted, chopped in your salad, or sautéed in a stir fry.
Yogurt is high in protein and it also contains good bacteria which can help fight off infection in the body. When buying yogurt, make sure it contains Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus, these bacteria will reduce your likelihood of contracting illness. Aside from these probiotics, yogurt has magnesium, selenium, and zinc for immune health. Mix some yogurt in with your fruit or oatmeal in the mornings or add it to a smoothie.
Citrus fruits are sweet, brightly colored, and full of vitamin C. These fruits include grapefruits, lemons, limes, oranges, and even tomatoes. These foods will certainly boost your immunity but they are also high in fiber and low in calories. Add slices of lemon to your water to keep you hydrated all day long. Word of caution: pick whole fruits as opposed to fruit juice. Fruit juice usually has added sugar which can actually weaken your immunity.
The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, aka the “Father of Western Medicine”, used to prescribe garlic to treat several medical conditions. To this day, many studies have shown that garlic has many health benefits because of the sulfur compounds that form when garlic is chopped or crushed. It is high in antioxidants and detoxifies the body from heavy metals in the bloodstream. Add garlic to any dish or chop it up and make a tea which may be an acquired taste but the benefits make it worth it.
Almonds are one of the most popular nuts and while we love the roasted and salted kind, the healthiest way to eat it is raw. They are highly nutritious and high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The antioxidants in almonds mainly come from the brown layer of the skin. For this reason, blanched almonds – those with the skin removed – are not the best choice if you want to receive those health benefits. Add almonds to your morning oatmeal, eat them as a snack, or add them to your smoothies.
Turmeric is one of the most powerful foods in existence. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands and years as a spice and medicinal herb. Why is turmeric so magical? Curcumin. This is the main active ingredient in turmeric and is a strong antioxidant with anti-inflammatory qualities. If you are buying turmeric supplements, look for bottles that include curcumin. You can also add it to smoothies, tea, and soup.
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks and though it does contain some caffeine it’s much less than what’s found in coffee. It’s rich in polyphenols which reduce inflammation and it contains a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), one of the most powerful compounds in green tea that helps with fighting disease. Try replacing your morning coffee with some green tea, add it to smoothies, sip on it throughout the day with some freshly squeezed lemon. Matcha is another green tea that’s popular and is commonly available hot or cold with milk.