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5 Plant-based foods to boost your immune system

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

Immune-boosting foods can help your body build a defense against COVID-19.

If our immune system stays boosted, we don't have to worry about getting it boosted. There are some great ways to get [back] on track, and I name a few of them here.

The foods we should grow to love

Arugula, chard, collards, kale, spinach, and turnip are just some of the great options to help keep your immune system in optimal shape.

Though a strong immune system won't prevent COVID-19, immune-boosting foods can benefit in the fight against it. We aren't bulletproof. You probably already know that your immune system helps fight against both viruses and germs - which can also lead to diseases. Well, this is no different. If you're part of the 90% of adults who don't get enough fruits or vegetables, this may be the time to bring them to the table........and keep them there.

What's causing your weakened immune system?

COVID-19 alone can do some wear and tear on your body; but what about the rest of the activities happening in your daily life? Stress? Financial stress, especially during these times of uncertainty has been critical in increased levels. Not getting any sleep? What does your current lifestyle of eating look like? What about exercise? Gyms across the country are closed, so you may not feel motivated to get moving. Studies show that these also play a significant role in your bodies' ability to fight off viruses and germs.

Immune-boosting foods

Grab these foods on your next grocery store run.

Turmeric: One of those superfoods we see people consistently using today as part of their daily routines - especially morning rituals. If you've eaten curry, an Asian dish, then it's likely that you've eaten it. It has anti-inflammatory properties, helps in boosting anti-body responses, and aids in positive effects with arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. A little goes a long way. If you're needing an idea of a way to incorporate it in your drinks, I like to do warm water with fresh lemon, ginger, and turmeric.

Mushrooms: People tend to overlook these. If you know me, then you know I try to find a way to put mushrooms in most of my dishes - sauteed in warm dishes, and raw in salads and some buddha bowls. We have so many options when it comes to mushrooms, such as chaga, maitake, oyster, portobellos, and shiitake, and the benefits they add in boosting our immune systems. In general, mushrooms are powerful in helping to lower inflammation and support a healthy response of the immune system. Vitamin D, antioxidants, and protein.

Leafy Greens: Green vegetables are one of the most important immune-boosting foods. These nutrient-packed leafy greens can be incorporated in a variety of ways in our meals - from lunch to snacks. Arugula, chard, collards, kale, spinach, and turnip are just some of the great options to help keep your immune system in optimal shape. You don't want to miss out on these antioxidants, Vitamin K, and magnesium. Just be sure to rinse before diving into your salads, buddha bowls, and sandwiches.

Bright Fruit: The brighter, the better, so grab those whole fruit options in the fresh produce section. It's no secret that Vitamins B and C are good for our immune system - and let's not forget the anti-inflammatory properties. Some of my favorites include apples, clementines, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, oranges, pomegranates, and strawberries.

Lentils: In helping to reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure, boost heart health, and restore gut health, lentils are last, but certainly not least, on this list. If you didn't know, you'll find that Vitamin B6 and zinc are just a couple of the immunity-boosting elements found in lentils. As you take a look at your meal options for the week, swap out the meat for lentils - as they take on a nice hearty flavor - and add them to your pasta or soup. Depending on the lentils, you'll have to adjust for cooking times.

Food + Exercise = YES

Exercising regularly, in combination with food, is the best combination in contributing to optimal health - so let's not leave this out. It improves cardiovascular health and helps control body weight (among other positive outcomes). Get out and move, even if it's just 10 minutes a day - walking, running, biking, or even body-weight workouts. We want to feel that good circulation happening, which helps cells of the immune system move through the body. If you have access to a gym - perfect! If you have space in your home - great! Utilize that to your advantage - your body will thank you later.

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