It’s that time of year when the weather cools down and the days shorten. Pumpkin spice, movies and crunchy leaves are in, but so is back-to-school and the dreaded flu season - which is something that isn’t exactlyfun to think about during year 2 of a global pandemic. But if we’ve learned anything from COVID-19, it’s that health is king, and immunity is a sought after privilege! So, we’re here to provide you with foods that can promote health, happiness and of course, immunity.
But first, a tiny talk about immunity. Truthfully, the best way to truly become immune to viruses or colds is to build youradaptive immune system up. This is a process that happens gradually. In a nutshell, our immune system gets stronger each time we get exposed to, or fight off, a new virus. Whether that is with the help of a vaccine, or through direct exposure to a germ.
But there are many ways to support or “boost” the immune system. This includes adopting healthy-living strategies like eating nutritious foods, sleeping enough, exercising regularly, keeping hydrated and reducing stress.
Now… Back to our regularly scheduled content, let’s get into some immune-boosting superfoods!
Don’t be fooled by the humble orange, because under its thick peel, oranges are packed with Vitamin C which is one of the most notorious immune boosters! Vitamin C has proven to possess antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects. Studies involving vitamin C capsules show that it can reduce the duration and intensity of colds and viruses. Simply put, it’s a “must-have” staple that should be included in any good immune-boosting strategy!
So, what foods can you add to your diet to boost your vitamin C levels (and immune system)? Here are the top ten foods highest in Vitamin C, ordered from greatest amount to least*:
Fun fact, the average bell pepper has more than twice as much vitamin C as an orange! Perhaps oranges aren’t as humble as we once thought. Now there’s some food for thought.
Ginger cannot be hyped up enough. Ginger is sugar and spice and everything nice. When it comes to health, ginger is the CEO of fighting against things we don’t want in our body. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antiviral, and antioxidant. Antioxidants like gingerol (the main chemical in ginger) help our body protect and rebuild cells, so we can fight off germs.
It is also a very versatile ingredient. Ginger can be sweet, savoury, warm and fresh. It’s also a great ingredient to add into your fall and winter recipes. Think tea, marinades, Thai food, cookies, and even smoothies!
If you’ve been a part of the health food community since mid-2013, you might have seen this one coming. That’s because we simplycannot deny the superfood quality of turmeric. Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, is a well-known member of theantioxidant squad (partially due to its vitamin C content, which wenow know is agame-changer). Curcumin has also proven to be a potent “immunomodulatory agent”. Meaning that when it comes to the immune response, curcumin helps decrease the number of bad guys (pro-inflammatory cytokines) while enhancing the good guys (antibodies).
So how do we use it? Well, picture warming up with a rich curry dish on a brisk fall day... Or sitting in a bustling café working with a golden latté in hand… Or smelling the delicious aroma of turmeric roasted veggies cooking in your oven. Yep, sign me up!
While small in size, seeds are mighty in impact! Seeds are largely overlooked in the grand scheme of health, but they’re important immune boosters. So, we’re here to give them the recognition they deserve. Seeds are great sources of Vitamin E, omega-3’s, and immune-boosting minerals like zinc.
Not to mention, many seeds are gut-friendly, providing prebiotic fibers that stimulate gut health. This is important because the majority of the immune cells in the human body are found in the gut!
So, sprinkle in some seeds next time you’re looking to give your immune system a hug. Our favourite way to eat more seeds is with Holy Crap Cereal, which contains chia seeds, buckwheat and hulled hemp seeds! It’s such a perfect (and easy) way to add seeds to your diet.
A word to the wise
When it comes toeating for immunity, there’s no *one* magic potion or cure. For instance, eating a ginger root (sadly) can’t cure a cold. But keeping your body nourished with vitamins and minerals is within your control and a great way to support your immune system.
Happy immune-boosting and may this blog help tilt the odds be in your favour this cold and flu season!