Immunity Superfoods (June 2006)
Vitamins A, C, & E, antioxidants, zinc are all important defenders against germs, viruses and infection. See how to obtain the most of these nutrients from your diet!
Red Bell Pepper- Provides about 260% of your daily vitamin C needs helping to enhance white blood cell function. Red bell peppers are one of the few vegetables sources of Vitamin E, which in addition to slowing the effects of aging, also boosts immunity.
Butternut Squash- One cup of cooked butternut squash provides 127% of daily vitamin A needs. The same serving provides over 33% of daily vitamin C plus vitamin E, which shields immune cells from free radicals and may boost production of bacteria dusting white blood cells.
Spinach- Loaded with a variety of antioxidants that helps shield immune cells from environmental damage and boosts production of bacteria-dusting white blood cells. Other antioxidants include pomegranates, blueberries, kidney beans and dried plums.
Cantaloupe- One fourth cantaloupe provides 110% of daily vitamin C which some research has linked to shorter duration and milder severity of cold symptoms by lowering levels of histamine- a chemical responsible for congestion and stuffiness. Also, provides 50% of daily Vitamin A.
Soybeans-Contain the mineral zinc, which supports synthesis of nucleic acids essential for cell repair. Some studies show zinc may reduce duration of cold symptoms. Other healthy zinc sources include oysters, crab and white beans.
Papaya-Research comparing 40 different fruits for the RDA of nine vitamins plus potassium and fiber rates papayas first-but it’s also a top source of vitamin C which research shows, plus a good source of vitamin A, which helps maintain the skin and mucosal cells lining airways and digestive tracts.