The advice to eat more fruits and vegetables for better health is always welcome and appropriate. Registered dietitians and nutritionists as well as other medical professionals universally recommend eating more to help prevent illness and disease, especially since only 1 in 10 Americans consume the recommended amount of fruits and veggies each day.
But in today’s environment, there is even more emphasis on maintaining a healthy immune system. Dietitians and nutritionists are regularly being asked for their input on staying healthy and most are reiterating the need for appropriate hydration, adequate sleep and a diet that is rich in fruits and veggies. This video featuring Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, Maya Feller Nutrition, provides some simple advice for consumers on what foods and practices contribute to healthy immune function.
And, here are just a few quick reminders of the health-promoting attributes of fruits and veggies.
Apples: In addition to the many disease-fighting nutrients in an apple, red apples contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which can help fortify your immune system, especially when you’re under stress. And remember to eat the peel, which is rich in fiber and antioxidants.
Berries: Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Eat them together for a powerful nutrient-rich punch.
Broccoli: A multi-vitamin approach in every bite, broccoli provides Vitamin A and C, and the antioxidant glutathione as well.
Citrus: During cold and flu season, everyone knows to reach for some citrus fruit because it is high in Vitamin C. Studies have shown that Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which help defend the body against viruses and diseases.
Red Bell Peppers: Most people don’t realize that red bell peppers are an amazing source of Vitamin C as well as beta carotene, which are both important in boosting your immune system.
Spinach: Often referred to as a superfood, spinach is not only high in vitamin C but it is also rich in antioxidants and beta carotene, which positively impacts the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Watermelon: Like broccoli, watermelon contains the antioxidant glutathione, which has been shown to strengthen immunity.
While these are just some examples, reaching for any fruit and veggie will provide a nutrient-dense snack or meal component. Plus, peer reviewed studies have also shown that people who eat more fruits and veggies each day are happier and their mood is enhanced. And, we can all benefit from a little mood improvement about now.