It’s that time of year again–the start of cold and flu season.
The immune system is the body’s incredible defense network against infections, viruses, and bacteria that enter the body. The stronger your immune system is, the less chance you have of getting sick and the faster you can recover if you do. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing immune-boosting antioxidants and vitamins will help you achieve a healthy immune system with all-natural, plant-powered ingredients. By incorporating fresh produce (and some other boosters) into your daily diet, you’ll not only get some necessary nutritional benefits, but you’ll also help to fight off that dreaded cold and flu.
Citrus Cold Recovery
Ward off colds with this vitamin bomb! The kiwis alone pack nearly twice your daily vitamin C–and the citrus delivers even more of the cold-busting vitamin.
Yield: Makes 2 cups (serving size: 1 cup)
1 grapefruit peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium oranges peeled and cut into chunks
3 kiwis peeled and cut into chunks
Preparation: In a blender, combine grapefruit, oranges, and kiwis; blend, scraping down sides occasionally, until smooth. Strain juice and, if desired, thin with water. Refrigerate up to 2 days (shake before serving).
Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system boosters of all. In fact, a lack of vitamin C can even make you more prone to getting sick. Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale and broccoli. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health because your body doesn’t produce or store it. The good news is that vitamin C is in so many foods that most people don’t need to take a vitamin C supplement unless a doctor advises it.
Orange juice benefits your immune system by boosting your intake of vitamin C. Each cup of orange juice contains 124 milligrams of vitamin C, or the entire recommended daily intake for men and women, according to the Institute of Medicine. Vitamin C keeps your skin healthy, so that it can maintain a strong barrier that stops pathogens from entering your body. It also helps you make white blood cells and boosts white blood cell function.
Orange juice serves as a source of vitamin A, a nutrient important for immune function. Vitamin A promotes the development of new white blood cells, the immune cells that circulate in your bloodstream to identify and destroy harmful pathogens. It also helps activate your white blood cells so they can fight off infection.
Grapefruits get their pinkish-red color from bioflavonoids, immune-boosting phytonutrients. Plus, the vitamin C in grapefruit can help the body reduce the severity of cold symptoms. Half a grapefruit provides one fruit serving, which meets more than 75 percent of your daily needs for vitamin C. Choose pink and red colored grapefruits to reap the greatest nutritional benefit.
Attention kiwi lovers. Another effective immune system boosting drink is kiwi juice. This juice contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E, which are essential for a healthy immune system. Kiwi fruit also provides lots of fiber and potassium, and it can protect your body from heart illnesses.