Foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes, antioxidants and fiber are your best friends. Whatever you eat, quality is key. When you buy veggies and fruits, they should be as fresh as possible, and this is why you want to in season. They are also cheaper, too.
Don’t confuse the fresh fruit for the version in a can with which you make sauce for Thanksgiving. Fresh cranberries are high in nutrient and antioxidant content. The cancer-preventive benefits of cranberries have been known to extend to cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate. Other benefits include lowered risk of urinary tract infections, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.
It is high in vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. One cup will provide 60 percent of your vitamin A requirements, making this very healthy for vision and eye health. It is loaded with chlorophyll which makes Swiss chard one of the most alkaline foods on the planet. The vegetable is especially helpful in fighting menstrual cramps and migraines, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
This is probably the most popular fruit during the fall season. Pumpkins are naturally sweet, full of potassium, protein, and vitamins A and K. They will keep your metabolism high, your skin glowing and aid in muscle recovery. Pumpkin seeds are an energy booster. They are light, easily digestible, and high in protein. Magnesium is crucial for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy molecules in the body.
“Tangerines are a great source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that fights free radicals in the body and a vitamin that supports protein metabolism and immune health,” Alexandra Miller, RDN, LDN, Corporate Dietitian, Medifast, says. Research suggests that a person with vitamin C deficiencies oxidize less fat and is the reason why some people are unsuccessful in their weight loss attempts.
Apples are a rich source of phytochemicals, and epidemiological studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and diabetes, research shows. The delicious fruit has been found to have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation, and lower cholesterol.
This is “the godfather of immune boosting foods,” Katharina Kaiser, nutritionist at fitness company Freeletics, says. With one clove containing 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium and over 100 sulfuric compounds, it’s been used for years to prevent everything from the common cold to the plague. Garlic contains a phytonutrient called allicin. It is known for its antiviral and anti-microbial properties, which may help fight viral and bacterial infections, she adds. “The problem is that you should eat it raw.”
Ginger contains constituents with anti-inflammatory properties. It is as effective as ibuprofen in relieving pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea, a study says. Ginger has an active compound called gingerol, which is known for its antimicrobial properties. The spice is also known for its ability help ease cold symptoms by relieving congestion and stimulating circulation in the body.
They help increase the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infection. Choose shiitake, maitake and reishi varieties for the biggest dose of immunity. Maybe surprisingly, they are a good source of Vitamin D. A cup of chanterelle, morel, shiitake or Portobello provides about 400 IUs, or 65 percent of DV.
Megadoses of vitamin E can dramatically reduce inflammation, research shows. Great sources of this important vitamin are dark green veggies, such as broccoli. It is high in potassium and magnesium, both strong anti-inflammatory ingredients. Full of vitamins A, C and the antioxidant glutathione, broccoli is an immune-boosting basic, according to Kaiser.
Researchers have identified over 45 different flavonoids in kale, according to Ali Miller, RD, LD, CDE registered dietitian. Kaempferol and quercetin top the list. “These flavonoids combine both antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer benefits in a way that gives kale a leading dietary role as a superfood,” Miller says. “Kale can provide great benefit in combating chronic inflammation and oxidative stress while supporting reduced histamine expression during allergy season.”
Onions should be a go-to during the winter as they have antibacterial and antiseptic properties, says Jess Dyer, in-house nutritionist at Graze. “If you've caught a cold or there is a virus doing the rounds, eat as much garlic and onions as you can.” Onions contain antioxidants which help prevent the oxidation of fatty acids in the body.
Beets are rich in immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and essential minerals like potassium, which is important for healthy nerve and muscle function, and manganese, which helps keep your bones, liver, pancreas and kidneys strong. This powerful food also contains the B vitamin folate, which helps reduce the risk of birth defects. It is a great source of naturally occurring nitrates, which is important for athletes and active people. Beetroot supplementation has been reported to reduce blood pressure and avert oxidative stress.
Carrots are famous for being very beneficial for eyes – they protect and improve your vision. The Department of Agriculture recommends adults eat at least four servings of the vegetable every day because it has a lot of other benefits. They clean your teeth and gums, have lots of Vitamin A which protects your skin, and contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer. Carrots are also a great source of potassium. For a more delicious taste, add peanut butter.
This delicious fruits contains bromelain, a digestive enzyme that helps to reduce gas and bloating. Research has shown pineapples boost the production of melatonin like few other food, making the fruit an ideal snack a few hours before bedtime. People who ate the fruit had 266 percent higher levels of melatonin than others.
“Brussels sprouts are another great vegetable rich in fiber, vitamin C, and folate,” Miller says. “Fiber plays an important role in weight loss as it helps keep us full and satisfied.” Brussels sprouts have carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which have been linked to lower cancer risks, according to the American Institute for Cancer.
Beta-carotene, found in orange-colored foods, is the mega-police in the growth and development of immune system cells and also helps neutralize harmful toxins. Sweet potatoes are also full of antioxidants and vitamin A. It also keep the skin healthy, the body’s largest organ, which is among the first to fight off infection.