The decrease in temperatures is accompanied by a rise in illnesses, but you can outsmart the common cold using ingredients found in your kitchen. Lisa Yarah, a certified nutritionist and registered dietitian in New York State, shares a list of 10 immune-boosting items to keep in your fridge and pantry during the winter season.
1. Red Bell Peppers.
We all know that vitamin C is crucial for strengthening the immune system, but did you know that red bell peppers contain double the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits? According to Yarah, consuming five servings of diverse fruits and vegetables daily can provide over 200 mg of vitamin C, naturally enhancing your immunity.
Regularly consuming fennel, which contains approximately 20 percent of your recommended daily vitamin C intake, can enhance your body’s resistance to infectious diseases. Fennel helps white blood cells, which are responsible for destroying bacteria and viruses in the body, work more effectively, reducing your chances of catching a cold.
Many types of yogurt contain probiotics that assist the body in resisting infections and aid in faster recovery. Yarah explains that the probiotics found in yogurt are healthy bacteria that support digestion. Since 60 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, maintaining a healthy gut is a great defense strategy.
4. Green Tea
Aside from aiding in weight loss, green tea contains antioxidants that are essential for optimal health. According to a journal article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, green tea protects the body against harmful oxidants and radicals when properly regulated.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Consider replacing traditional mashed potatoes with sweet potatoes as a side dish during holiday dinners. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and enhance cell function.
Not only does garlic add flavor to your meals, but it has also been found to help fight off colds. Additionally, garlic contains calcium, potassium, and sulfuric compounds that eliminate unwanted bacteria.
Aside from adding a curry-like flavor to your dishes, turmeric is known to combat infection and inflammation by preventing damage caused by free radicals.
Salmon, rich in protein, is a superfood that provides essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, which are necessary for T-cell activation. The higher your T-cell count, the better your chances of avoiding illness.
Oysters are packed with vitamin C, vitamin E, and a variety of antioxidants that promote the health of your cells.
10. Brussels Sprouts
Despite being low in calories, Brussels sprouts are nutrient-dense and help prevent cell damage. Just half a cup of Brussels sprouts can provide you with half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
By incorporating these 10 immunity-boosting items into your diet, you can strengthen your body’s defenses against the common cold and other illnesses during the winter season.