Now that you’re at home and cooking a lot more
than you ever have in the past, you’re probably wondering what you can make
that will take advantage of what’s in the pantry. But in addition to perfecting
your sourdough recipe and baking comforting desserts, you can also shift your
menu choices to include meals that will actually help boost your immune system,
which is something that everyone can use right now. In this article, we’ll
outline some general guidelines for healthy eating and highlight some foods
that can help bolster your immune system.
Put simply, the Mediterranean diet focuses on plant-based nutrition with less focus on meat and dairy, which is perfect for quarantine because you probably have a lot of the ingredients in your pantry right now. In addition to helping reduce risks for heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease, the Mediterranean diet also helps boost immunity and reduce inflammation. Here’s how you can get started and start to shop accordingly:
Eat the rainbow. By eating five to six
servings a day of different colored fruits and vegetables, each with its own
nutrients and antioxidants, you’ll be giving your immune system a boost.
Bring on the legumes. Healthy legumes, such
as beans, lentils, and peanuts are great sources of fiber and minerals that you
should try to eat once a day.
Cut back on meat. Try to keep red meat
consumption to less than twice a week and opt for leaner cuts, such as flank
steak or sirloin. On the other days, go vegetarian or cook leaner meats like
fish, turkey, or chicken.
Go for whole-grain over
By choosing five to six servings a day of whole-grain options, such as oats,
quinoa, and brown rice instead of white grains, like rice, flour, and pasta,
you’ll be helping your immune system and reducing inflammation.
Focus on healthy fats. Use olive oil for
cooking instead of butter and snack on nuts and seeds.
Drink plenty of water. Doctors recommend
drinking eight to 10 glasses of water a day.
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While not a specific category of foods, superfoods are ones that are nutritionally dense that also have healthy fats and antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and digestive problems. Some of the most popular superfoods include:
Blueberries. These are usually at
the top of most superfoods lists because they are rich in vitamins, soluble
fiber, and phytochemicals. Buy them frozen or fresh for a healthy addition to
Kale. You may be tired of
hearing about kale, but it lives up to the hype when it comes to nutrition. In
fact, lots of dark leafy greens, such as swiss chard, collards, mustard, and
spinach are loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber, calcium, and other
Salmon, sardines, and
fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to reduce the
risk of heart disease and stroke.
Yogurt. The probiotics in
yogurt reinforce the beneficial bacteria in your body and help boost your
Tomatoes. Red tomatoes are the
best because they’re loaded with the healthy antioxidant lycopene, which helps
reduce the risk of certain cancers and coronary artery disease.
Carrots. They’re easy to
prepare and are dense in carotenoids, which are associated with lowering the
risk of cancer and helping lessen the severity of inflammatory conditions like
asthma and arthritis.
Apples. Leave the skin on and
snack away. Apples are sweet, tasty and loaded with antioxidant phenols.
Popular Immunity-Boosting Foods to Have on Hand
In addition to exercising and getting enough sleep, eating these nutritious foods will help boost your immune system and help you fight off diseases:
Citrus fruits. Fruits like oranges,
lemons, grapefruits, and limes are loaded with vitamin C, which is necessary
for the growth, development, and repair of body tissues. They keep your immune
system running smoothly.
Turmeric. A staple in Indian
kitchens, turmeric is jam-packed with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and
anti-bacterial products. In addition to giving rich color to whatever you’re
cooking, it’s great for your immune system.
Garlic. Garlic is known for
its infection-fighting properties and research suggests that it can help lower
Broccoli. This is one of the
healthiest vegetables and an excellent source of vitamins C and K. It’s also
loaded with potassium and folate. The less it’s cooked, the more intact its
nutritional properties remain.
Almonds. Almonds are rich in
vitamin E, which promotes a healthy immune system. They also have great
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