With these four immune-boosting foods, you can keep your immunity up without sacrificing nutrition. These foods form the core of my daily diet. This year, more than ever, I want to work with my immune system to keep my body at its peak performance no matter what. Staying healthy is more than just a lean, strong body ― it’s about being ready for whatever is thrown your way! Stress affects our immune system. And, while I can’t always change the stressors in my life, I love that I can eat to improve my immune response to outside pressure. As a nutritionist, you’ll always find these “fab four” in my kitchen or pantry.
Apples: Apples contain a variety of phytochemicals including quercetin (13.2 mg/100 g fruit, on average), a compound that may protect against the flu virus. And studies have linked the consumption of apples to the reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes. The best way to eat an apple is raw and with the skin. Because the skin contains a greater amount of nutrients than the flesh be sure to thoroughly wash the skin. If you cook apples, leave the skin on as the peel helps to hold onto more of the nutrients. I love this recipe for Kale Salad with California Avocado – apples pair wonderfully with kale’s natural bitterness for a deliciously filling salad!
Avocados: I recommend California Avocados to my clients as they have the good fats that love you back! When you have a beautiful plate of greens, the healthy fats in avocados serve as a “nutrient booster” by helping increase the of absorption of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A, D, K and E. California Avocados contain 4% DV Vitamin C, an antioxidant that may contribute to healthy immune function. There are so many ways to add California Avocados to your day, any time of day ― like topping a salad, grain bowl, or veggie dish, or adding to a smoothie or smoothie bowl.
Just one serving ― one-third of a medium avocado (50 g) ― contains 6% of the daily value for Vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which the body needs to keep your immune system strong in the fight against bacteria and viruses.
I also have to add that one of the reasons I love California Avocados is because of the care that growers put into every single avocado. California Avocado growers put care into how their trees are nurtured, planted and harvested, and work to keep the land they grow on sustainable and fruitful for generations to come.
I recommend this heart-healthy superfood because the antioxidants, vitamins C and E, in avocados may help boost immunity. You can also pickle avocados, and they are quite delicious eaten this way. Or you could whip up a fruity avocado smoothie bowl with dark leafy greens. For me, I treat avocados as nature’s plant-based butter. They add a creamy mouthfeel to virtually any dish I make. I even whip them into mashed potatoes in place of butter!
Beans: Polyphenol-rich common dry beans include navy beans, kidney beans, red beans, black beans, pinto beans and cranberry beans. A 2017 published research found that dry common beans play a significant function in human nutrition, especially as a source rich in proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and other micronutrients, as well as low saturated fat content. Besides these nutrients, the polyphenols and other metabolites have antioxidant activities and protect against various diseases, including microbial infections . It matters little which kind of bean you choose, or even if you buy them canned, they still contain these potent disease-fighting compounds.
I recommend eating a cup of beans a day. It’s easy to toss them on top of salads, grain bowls, or make a curry or chili.
My favorite way to eat beans is to blend them into a hummus or dip. Give me some crunchy veggies or warm pita and a cup of white bean hummus any day of the week! This recipe for California Avocado and White Bean Wrap is another delicious way to integrate beans into your diet!
Blueberries: The anthocyanins and polyphenols in blueberries are major functional ingredients.
Blueberry polyphenols have been shown to be beneficial to human health and have beneficial properties which contribute to enhanced immune function. These beneficial properties also include anticancer, anti-obesity, prevention of degenerative diseases, anti-inflammation, protective effect on vision and liver, prevention of heart disease, antidiabetes, prevention of cardiovascular diseases, and improved cognitive decline.
I love to top my steel-cut oatmeal or overnight oats with a cup of blueberries! They add color and a sweet burst of flavor. And I sometimes toss a cup in my morning smoothie, along with dark leafy greens, and a variety of yummy smoothie ingredients. But please don’t limit the beautiful blueberry to breakfast! This California Avocado Red White and Blueberry Salsa makes it easy to enjoy blueberries all day long!
Eating for immunity is not only great for your diet, it’s also great for your overall health. I encourage you to find new ways to integrate apples, California Avocados, beans, and blueberries into your diet today!