Eating a well-balanced diet and taking care of yourself are
some of the few things we can control right now when it feels like so much is
out of our control. Spring produce is at its peak currently and fortunately
many of these foods are the kings and queens of immune boosting foods,
providing vitamins and minerals to help keep us healthy. Let’s take a look at
some of the most nutritious produce in season right now that may give your
immune system that extra support you need.
1. Peas are
an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate which all may help
protect you from infection. Vitamin C stimulates the formulation of antibodies
which can boost immunity.
Choose peas that are bright and firm and free
from signs of decay. Store them in the refrigerator for 3-5 days in a
perforated plastic bag.
2. Apricots are a delicious spring fruit that contain high levels of vitamin A and C.
Vitamin A helps to regulate the immune system and helps keep your skin and
tissue healthy which can help protect you from infection.
Choose apricots that are plump, firm, and
uniform in color. Keep them at room temperature until they are ripe. Once ripe,
transfer to the refrigerator.
3. Broccoli contains
high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and folate. Beta-carotene is a
phytonutrient thought to bolster cellular antioxidant defenses.
Pick broccoli that has odorless heads which
are a darker green color. Store fresh broccoli in the refrigerator up to 5
4. Citrus Fruits such as lemons, limes,
grapefruit, and oranges are all in season during springtime. Citrus fruits are
full of antioxidants and vitamin C. Including them in your diet is thought to
help the immune system by boosting the body’s white blood cells.
When at the store, look for citrus fruits
that have smooth, shiny skin. They should feel heavy for their size. You can
keep citrus fruits in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
5. Asparagus is a vegetable high in vitamin C and folate, and a good source of vitamin
A. Asparagus also contains prebiotics which helps support the growth of
immune-boosting probiotics. Probiotics need prebiotics to survive.
Look for asparagus that are odorless and
are not wilted. To maintain freshness, wrap ends of stalks in a wet paper towel
and place in a plastic bag before placing in the refrigerator. Asparagus will
keep this way up to 4 days.
Including immune boosting foods like fresh spring produce in
your daily diet may help give your immune system some extra support right now.
Other benefits of buying produce in season include better flavor, increased
nutrition, lower cost, and it is also better for the environment. While your
diet can help support a strong defense for the body, don’t forget to focus on
reducing stress, prioritizing sleep, and moving your body as these are also
critical for preventing illness as well.