Each year, around this time, my body wants to stop fighting the cold, the flu, the winter blues. It’s like, it’s saying to me ” Since November, I’ve had to adjust to the cold and go to battle with flu season and now I’m tired, can I just cave already?” But, I won’t let it! I had a small hiccup of a cold last week – two days of not feeling great and I went to war (I declared it on the cold) – Drinking three smoothies a day, ten to twelve glasses of water, ingesting whatever super food I could get my hands on – and you know what? That sucker didn’t stick. No week-long cold for me!!
I didn’t reach for the meds when I felt it coming on, I reached for tangerines and lemons. Nothing boosts your immune system like some good old vitamin C! Of course, there are a few other foods that I like to add to the battalion and I’m sharing them with you today. Let’s start with the standby, oranges and all their goodness.
Benefits of Oranges
One medium orange contains 120 percent the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for a healthy immune system. It stimulates the production and function of your white blood cells, which attack foreign bacteria and viruses, reducing your chances of getting sick (source). Oranges are refreshing and taste wonderful on their own, in smoothies, on top of salads or enjoyed in fruit salad.
Benefits of Ginger
Ginger provides non-toxic benefits that activate the immune system to prevent cancer from developing, kill existing cancer cells and prevent tumors from spreading, according to researchers (source). Ginger is known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. It helps you beat off circulating viruses and if you already have a cold, it helps breakdown mucous. Honey lemon ginger tea is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh ginger and get its wonderful health benefits.
To make a serving of honey lemon ginger tea, you will need….
- 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
- 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. raw local honey
- Put the ginger in a tea pot. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over it and let it steep for 3-4 minutes.
- While the ginger is steeping, put the lemon juice and the honey in a large mug. Strain the ginger tea into the mug.
- Stir to dissolve the honey.
- Add more honey/lemon juice to taste preference
Benefits of Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are packed with antioxidants, fiber, complete protein and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. They can absorb 9 times their volume in water providing energy, prolonged hydration, and retention of electrolytes, perfect for runners and athletes. (source). You can add chia seeds to your daily smoothie or make chia gel to use in baking (to replace butter), in soups as a thickener, or as an energy gel which fills you up and hydrates you for hours (marathoners love it!).
Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are full of vitamins, amino acids and minerals; a major one being zinc, which boosts the immune system by acting as an antioxidant and minimizing damage to cell membranes from free radicals. There are so many delicious ways to enjoy pumpkin seeds – from adding them to your oatmeal, homemade energy bars, or even as a pretty cake decoration on top of a pumpkin spice cake.
Benefits of Oil of Oregano
Oil of Oregano is a natural substance that is extracted from wild oregano plants. Two key compounds found in it are carvacrol and thymol. Studies have shown that both of these compounds have significant effects on harmful microorganisms that cause many illnesses in humans. It’s been said to help boost the immune system and many people swear by it. You can take it pure, by adding a few drops to water (it has a very strong taste!) or in capsule form. Have you ever tried it?
Benefits of Kale
Kale has an abundance of Vitamin C. and we know that vitamin C helps protect against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling! (source) Kale is also packed with antioxidants. I love hearing that! Kale is high in both carotenoids and flavonoids, which are associated with anti-cancer health benefits. Yay! So how do you eat kale? Well, wait for it….SMOOTHIES. Is that my go to for getting super foods in my diet? Maybe. One of my favorite smoothies is my blackberry kale smoothie – it’s seriously tasty. Of course, you can go a more traditional route and enjoy a kale salad or try kale chips.
Benefits of Pomegranates
Pomegranates are what we now call a superfood! Their seeds are full of polyphenols, powerful antioxidants believed to offer heart health and anti-cancer benefits. Pomegranate seeds have more antioxidant power than cranberry juice or green tea. In addition to antioxidants, pomegranates are a source of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. (source) I personally love pomegranate juice – especially with sparkling water, it’s so good! Some people feel a bit intimidated by the whole pomegranate eating experience…I know I was the first time I attempted to get those tasty little seeds out. I had no idea about the under water trick…which would have saved my kitchen walls from being covered in pomegranate spray juice. If you’ve never cracked a pomegranate open, here’s how you open them.
I hope this post encourages you to fuel up on immune boosting foods next time you’re doing groceries. Your body will thank you for it! And don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends, as a friendly reminder to boost their systems too!