With the added concern of COVID-19 thrown into the mix during cold and flu season, many people are buying up masks and supplies. This isn’t the apocalypse though, so while it can’t hurt to make sure you’ve got soap and sanitizer, the best way to stay healthy is to follow proper protocol.
In addition to proper hand washing, staying well includes getting proper hydration, exercise, rest, and nutrition. When it comes to nutrition especially, you have a lot of options to fill your plate with, that will help your immune system stay strong.
Instead of panicking, make sure you start eating more of these foods every day to reduce your chances of becoming a coughing, sneezing, feverish mess.
Choose the Right Herbs and Spices
Turmeric has become popular in recent years despite its ancient traditional healing roots (hello, turmeric milk!). That’s because it contains a chemical called curcumin which dives into the cell membrane to help get rid of infections. It also provides other health benefits that are antioxidant in nature, so grate it fresh into soups, stews, marinades, and other dishes, or use the organic powdered version.
Then there’s garlic. If you regularly add in double the cloves of garlic a recipe calls for, you’re off to a good start. However, garlic’s immunity powers are highest when consumed raw. If that’s too spicy and pungent for you, try chopping it up and waiting just before a dish is finished to sauté it in briefly to get the same effect.
Ginger is another spicy root that works by way of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. Make a stir-fry or even sip ginger tea to get the benefits.
Blueberries have long been hailed as a superfood, though many people don’t realize it’s beneficial for the immune system. It contains a special compound that boosts your immunity against bacterial infections; however this component will work best with vitamin D. A little safe sunshine or vitamin D-rich foods will do the trick!
As a kid, maybe you thought Popeye was a little weird for gobbling up spinach rather than burgers or pizza. As an adult though, you probably know it’s one of the best nutrient-dense foods you can put on your plate. With antioxidants and vitamins C and E, you can enjoy it raw or cooked. In smoothies, when the leaves are chopped it releases even more lutein which fights inflammation.
Hungry for more? Sweet potatoes have you covered with tons of vitamins A and C. Together, they unite to give you better immunity, so how about a baked sweet potato tonight?
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Your gut health is also crucial in keeping you healthy year-round. You need to take a two-pronged approach though and fuel your body with prebiotics. These foods are nondigestible and help your good gut bacteria flourish. It’s mealtime for them so eat more bananas, asparagus, onions, and wheat bran.
As you add in more prebiotic fibers, make sure you take in more probiotic foods too. These contain those good guys you want populating your gut. Yogurt, kimchi, organic sauerkraut, and kombucha are all excellent probiotic foods.
Put down the mask and stop hoarding disinfectant. Eat these foods instead to keep yourself well no matter what’s going around!