Summer might be in full swing, or as close as it can get during the coronavirus crisis, and keeping our immune systems healthy remains the priority for many people right now. Why not take advantage of the season’s fresh fruits and veggies to feed ourselves superfoods to boost our immune system?
It’s not the food that kills off viruses, but certain foods can help our mental health, give our skin a healthy glow, and strengthen our immune systems and help fight off illness. We usually associate illness and immunity with the winter months, when foods like stews and soups are our go-to comfort foods, but we have some superfoods that pair perfectly with summer salads.
Ginger and Garlic
Ginger and garlic are aromatic and full of flavour, and both contain compounds that support your immune system. Garlic contains compounds that naturally aid in the fight and destruction of bacteria and infection.
Garlic helps the body flush away harmful toxins, which stimulates immune responses and reduces inflammation. Try adding minced garlic to a quinoa salad with tomatoes, cucumber, and mint.
Ginger can also help reduce inflammation and is a remedy for a sore throat. It helps speed up digestion and is packed full of vitamins. It’s great in a salad dressing. Combine fresh ginger and garlic, with mango, tahini, olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a blender for a dressing ready to toss on your salad.
Vitamin C is often a go-to when people have caught a cold, as it is known to help build up your immune system. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which are key to fighting infections.
Just about all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety of citrus fruits available, it’s simple to add a squeeze of citrus fruit to any meal. The most popular citrus fruits include grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges and tangerines, any of which go very well in a summer salad or dressing.
Try pairing freshly-squeezed grapefruit, orange and lime juice in a citrus vinaigrette with salmon – high in omega-3s – and some leafy greens.
The human body doesn’t store vitamin C, so it should be ingested daily to maintain your health.
Dark leafy greens are very beneficial to our immune systems due to the wide range of nutrients packed within. Spinach is one to highlight because not only is it rich in vitamin C, it is also loaded with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting abilities of our immune system.
Spinach is at it’s healthiest when it is cooked as little as possible so that it can retain all its wonderful nutrients. But a little light cooking makes it easier to absorb the vitamin A and allows other nutrients to be released from oxalic acid, an organic compound found in many plants.
Try a salad packed with immune-boosting ingredients – fresh baby spinach, strawberries, fennel, avocado, sugar snap peas, and almonds.
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