Nobody ever wants to get sick but the busy lifestyles that we live these days can leave our immune systems depleted. Not getting enough sleep, having a poor diet, smoking, and being overweight are all factors that can contribute to a weakened immune system. We always want our immune systems to stay healthy, however, since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic, this has become even more of a priority for people around the world. There are many vitamins and supplements on the market that claim to boost your immunity, however, these products can be expensive, and evidence suggests that supplements do not provide the same nutritional value as whole foods. The easiest and most effective way you can boost your immunity is through proper nutrition and a diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins that are essential for keeping your immune system functioning properly. We all know that people often turn to orange juice to kick a cold because of its vitamin C content, however, there are many other foods that pack a punch when it comes to immunity building nutrients. If you’re looking to boost your immune system naturally, you’re in luck because there is an abundance of nutritious produce that reaches its peak in the summer! Read on to see the top 7 most delicious foods you must include in your diet this summer to help maintain a healthy immune system.
Cherries are an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C is essential for helping to maintain your immune system, while potassium helps with critical body processes such as muscle contraction, nerve function, and blood pressure regulation. Additionally, cherries are especially high in polyphenols, a group of plant chemicals that can help fight cellular damage, reduce inflammation, and promote overall health. In fact, polyphenol-rich diets may protect against many chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Getting healthier this summer starts with this familiar seasonal classic. Made up of more than 90 percent water, watermelon is the key to staying hydrated during even the hottest summer days. Staying hydrated is essential for proper immune function because it helps your body produce lymph, which carries white blood cells and other immune system cells. Eating watermelon is a tasty way to increase your water intake if you struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day. Additionally, like cherries, watermelon is a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Finally, as an added bonus, watermelon contains lycopene, which can help protect skin cells from sun damage.
Spinach has earned a reputation as a superfood in the health community, and for good reason! Spinach contains generous amounts of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Folate. These nutrients help the body’s immune system function properly while also supporting cell division and DNA repair. Additionally, spinach’s high iron content makes it an ideal food for people who do not eat a lot of meat or struggle with anemia. It seems like Popeye was on to something!
As if you need another reason to eat these delicious fruits, mangoes contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals! One mango can contain almost 100% of your daily vitamin C – who needs oranges? Additionally, mangoes contain about 10% of your daily copper which helps to form red blood cells and also fight infection. This sweet fruit also packs over a dozen types of polyphenols! Studies have shown that polyphenols may help protect against certain types of cancer by reducing DNA damage.
Stay cool as a cucumber this summer with another super-hydrating snack! Cucumbers are another food that has an extremely high water content to keep you hydrated and your immune system running smoothly. While cucumbers are low in calories, they are high in many important vitamins and minerals. Cucumbers are good sources of phytonutrients, such as flavonoids, which help to fight infections and have been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities in animal studies. For more health benefits, one medium cucumber also contains about 48 milligrams of calcium, which is essential for bone health.
Berries are best in the summer and they are an excellent source of vitamin C, which we already know can protect the immune system against deficiencies. Berries also contain varying amounts of all of the essential amino acids. Amino acids are beneficial because they can be directly used as fuel by the immune system. Additionally, dark colored berries such as blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries are a great source of flavanols which are highly effective antioxidants shown to reduce inflammation and support the immune system.
Garlic has been praised for centuries for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, however, what you may not know about this flavorful vegetable is that it is beneficial for maintaining the homeostasis of the immune system. Some studies suggest that supplementation of the diet with garlic may in part, reduce the severity of colds and flu and could even help prevent sickness entirely.