The drop in temperatures brings with it a spike in sicknesses, but you can outsmart the common cold in the kitchen. Lisa Yarah, New York State Certified Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian, shares the 10 immunity-boosting items to stock your fridge and pantry with this winter.
1) Red Bell Peppers. You know vitamin C is essential for boosting the immune system, but did you know that red bell peppers contain double the amount than that of citrus fruits? “Consuming five varied servings of fruits and vegetables per day can provide more than 200mg of vitamin C and thereby naturally boost your immunity,” says Yarah.
2) Fennel. Eating fennel, which contains about 20% vitamin C, regularly increases your body’s resistance to infectious diseases. Consumption allows white blood cells, the ones that destroy bacteria and viruses in the body, to work harder, which lessens your chances of catching a cold.
3) Yogurt. Many yoghurts contain probiotics that help the body resist contaminations and aid in quicker recovery from infections. “The probiotics found in yoghurt are healthy bacteria that aid in digestion,” says Yarah. “Since 60% of your immunity lines your gut, keeping your gut healthy is a great line of defence.”
4) Green Tea. Not only does it aid in weight loss, green tea also contains antioxidants needed for optimal health. In a journal article published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, green tea is found to protect the body against oxidants and radicals, which can cause harm to the body when not properly regulated.
5) Sweet Potatoes. Swap out your traditional mashed potato side this Thanksgiving for sweet potatoes; the carbohydrate is rich in antioxidants and improves cell function.
6) Garlic. Known for adding flavour, garlic is an ingredient that has been found to help fight off the cold by consumption of its cloves. It also contains calcium, potassium and sulfuric compounds that get rid of unwanted bacteria.
7) Turmeric. Not only does it give your meal curry-like flavour, turmeric is also found to fight infection and inflammation by preventing damage caused by free radicals.
8) Salmon. Protein-rich salmon is a superfood for getting your essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acid, which is necessary for the activation of T-cells. The higher your T-cell count, the better chance you have of not getting sick.
9) Oysters. Oysters contain vitamin C, vitamin E and a host of antioxidants that keep your cells healthy.
10) Brussels Sprouts. Not only do Brussels sprouts provide tons of nutrients for such a small amount of calories, but they also prevent damage to cells in the body. All you need is half a cup to provide you with half the amount of vitamin C that’s recommended per day.