Superfoods for Immunity
It is cold and flu season, and it seems like everyone you know is getting sick. Every time you look around, people are coughing or sneezing or blowing their noses. But you don't have to be one of them. By including some key superfoods in your diet, you can boost your immune system and help stave off the sniffles.
How Does Food Impact Your Immune System?
Your body is constantly fighting off germs and other harmful invaders, including free radicals within its own cells, and it needs the right fuel to keep going. Foods like fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals that help your immune system function well. They’re also full of antioxidants that can fight off diseases linked with oxidative damage, such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis.
So, you will be helping your body resist more than just cold germs by putting superfoods in your diet. You have probably heard of the basic vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, and the seemingly endless B vitamins. But superfoods also contain phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, isoflavonoids, carotenoids, and fibers that help your body counter the effects of free radicals.
Plus, eating foods rich in these vitamins and minerals works better than taking supplements. For one, your body absorbs nutrients from food more easily. And secondly, your system does a better job of regulating intake based on what it needs. Sometimes supplements provide too much of certain vitamins or minerals, and our bodies become unbalanced. It is actually possible to overconsume certain fat-soluble vitamins (like vitamin A) when taking them as a supplement.
Here are some great foods to make sure you include in your meals:
The Vitamin-Rich Sweets: Berries and Citrus Fruits
Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, tangerines, grapefruit, and oranges are all high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for so many things, but is especially helpful against the flu and the common cold. Additionally, blueberries pack a big punch by including vitamin K and manganese, and raspberries include polyphenols, ellagic acid, carotenoids and anthocyanin, which add anti-inflammatory effects that can help your metabolism, heart, immune system, and brain.
The Nutrient-Filled Spices: Turmeric, Ginger, and Cinnamon
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, and it has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. As an anti-inflammatory, turmeric can also help relieve the symptoms of a cold if you are unlucky enough to catch one. And it's delicious as a flavoring in food. Ginger, a relative of turmeric in the plant kingdom, is commonly used to treat nausea, but it also includes known antiviral components, which means it works well to fight the common cold. Cinnamon has antibacterial properties, and it can increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, helping to decrease your blood sugar and combat diabetes.
The Health-Inspiring Veggies: Leafy Greens, Broccoli, and Brussels Sprouts
Kale, spinach, and collard greens contain large amounts of vitamins A, C, E, and K. These vitamins help your body fight infection as well as maintain strong bones and teeth, and they may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Leafy greens also defend against cognitive decline as you age, thanks to elements like a-tocopherol. Broccoli and brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous veggie family. Broccoli packs a punch with vitamin C, A, E, K, minerals like selenium, zinc and iron, and polyphenols including quercetin, isorhamnetin, and glucosides. Brussel sprouts include many of those as well as calcium.
The Nuts to Go Nuts Over: Almonds and Walnuts
Eat just a handful of almonds and you are enjoying a third of your daily intake of vitamin E, as well as four grams of fiber, and almost 20% of your daily magnesium. Talk about a powerful food. But walnuts are just as powerful. In fact, including them in your weekly diet can reduce your risk of heart attack because they lower blood pressure. Nuts and seeds as a category offer a lot of benefits, but these two varieties particularly shine.
The One You Never Thought of Before: Microalgae
Microalgae is a powerhouse of nutrition. It’s packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including beta carotene, vitamin B12, and even vitamin D. It also contains the antioxidant astaxanthin, which is found in salmon and shrimp. Astaxanthin helps to protect against sun damage and may help to prevent skin cancer. Microalgae is a great addition to smoothies or any food that needs a nutritional boost.
At NaturaPunkt We Focus on Superfoods
We are especially excited by the wonders offered by the microalgae superfood Gold Chlorella. It won the Best natural ingredient award in 2017, Best New Speciality Health Product Award in 2021 - all thanks to its versatility and nutritional richness. The superfoods listed above are just a few of the ones you can enjoy adding to your diet. Find superfood-rich snacks and ingredients by visiting Natura Punkt.