The dreaded cold and flu season is officially upon us. And this year, as coronavirus cases continue to rise, it’s more important than ever to protect your immune system proactively. While we recommend these immune-boosting superfoods year-round, they’re even more important to load up on during the winter.
What’s a superfood?
Superfoods are nutrient-packed whole foods. Unlike “health foods” (which can include everything from sugar-packed granola bars to barely-even-foods like Miracle Whip and margarine), superfoods are not generally commercially produced. You’ll find most of them in the produce and meat department, local farmer’s markets, or growing in the fields and groves just like nature intended.
Salmon: a versatile super protein
Not only does it support lean muscle growth. This fish is also packed with omega-3 essential fatty acids, which support heart and eye health. Plus, compared to many other types of fish, it’s incredibly versatile in recipes. Grill up some salmon burgers, serve it smoked as part of your charcuterie board, or bake it with lemon slices and olive oil. Because of its relatively high fat content, it’s hard to overcook salmon. This makes it a natural choice for culinary newcomers. However you prepare it, experts recommend eating seafood (including salmon) at least twice a week for maximum benefits.
Citrus: anti-inflammatory immune boosters
Vitamin C is your body’s first line of defense to boost immunity against invading viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. And everybody knows that citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit) are chock full of Vitamin C. But did you know a squeeze of citrus juice over leafy greens can also help you absorb the iron you need? Which brings us to our third and final immune-boosting superfood…
Spinach: don’t forget your greens
This mandatory leafy green is nutrient-dense and loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. Think folate, Vitamin C, and zinc. According to Healthline, “Eating spinach may benefit eye health, reduce oxidative stress, help prevent cancer, and reduce blood pressure levels.” Plus, it has a milder flavor than many other leafy greens (sorry, kale). Whether you prefer it lightly sauteed in an omelet or sneak it into your morning smoothie, you’ll get the immune-boosting benefits of this crowd-favorite superfood.
The best immune-boosting superfoods? The ones you love to eat.
Whether you choose these or have a few favorites of your own, there are some essential guidelines to remember. First, a healthy plate tends to be a colorful plate. By eating the rainbow, you’re getting a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. And, perhaps most importantly, eating these immune-boosters shouldn’t be a chore. If you don’t love steamed spinach, don’t eat it steamed! There are plenty of creative ways to load your plate with flavor.
And, as a reminder, our outdoor Cafe is open and providing delicious (and nutritious) grab-and-go fuel to help get you through the winter.