The COVID-19 pandemic truly swept through the world at an unprecedented rate, and everything you hear on the news or on social media is about how deadly it can be for even the young and “strong.” Here are five superfoods for boosting and maintaining an incredible immune system in the face of this trying time, and also for moving forward. Who doesn’t like being totally healthy?
1. Citrus Fruits: Has your mother ever told you to drink orange juice when you got a cold? This is because oranges, much like every other citrus fruit, are jam-packed with vitamin C, responsible for building and maintaining your immune system. And, according to Medline Plus, vitamin C is key in “producing proteins to build skin, tendons, liga ments, and blood vessels, as well as healing wounds, repairing cartilage and bones, and aiding the absorption of iron into the bloodstream.”1 Sounds like a sweet, and delicious, deal to me.
2. Bell Peppers: We just got done discussing the benefits of vitamin C. Well one red bell pepper contains almost 200% of your daily intake.3 But besides being great for your immune system, bell peppers contain beta carotene, which is excellent for your skin. If you have acne or rosacea, the high amount of beta carotene found in bell peppers can help resolve such problems.1 A healthy immune system AND glowing skin? Yes, please. Below, the red pepper photo is on the recipe ebook 21 Days of Raw which is found on the Products page for only $2.99.
3. Broccoli: Broccoli is an all-around incredible food. High in vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and antioxidants, there’s not a single part of your body that won’t thank you for having eaten a nice portion of broccoli—but broccoli can help boost your immune system as well as helping your brain function, regulating your digestive system, increasing fertility, and maintaining a healthy heart, liver, and kidneys. This is one vegetable you need to have on your plate. Broccoli can be hard to digest raw, so ground it down into a pate or grate it onto your salad or add it to a green juice, or if you prefer to eat it cooked, lightly steam it.
4. Turmeric: Turmeric is a tasty spice to add to dishes, and also has a myriad of incredible health benefits. According to The Purple Carrot, “Turmeric is a natural way to help bolster the immune system by increasing the immunomodulating capacity of the body.”4 So, it makes your immune system stronger, and literally makes it bigger. Turmeric is also wonderful for brain functioning; it “helps to improve learning as well as concentration” and “has also been shown to fight Alzheimer’s disease.”4 You can’t go wrong with adding some turmeric to your daily routine, fresh or dried.
5. Almonds: Now, when we talk about an amazing natural supplement, we’re talking about almonds. They’re super high in vitamin E, which is a powerful anti-aging compound on a cellular level and also a great anti-inflammatory for those with chronic bone and joint conditions.5 According to Healthline, “a half-cup serving of almonds provides around 100% of the recommended daily amount.”1 It also is very high in antioxidants and vitamin C, making your body younger, healthier, and stronger.
However, make sure that you purchase only unpasteurized almonds, as all other almonds, even raw and organic labelling, are mandated to be pasteurized today because of a California law. It’s the only nut that may not be raw according to the package label. There are some stores and distributors that still sell truly raw and unpasteurized almonds.
Boosting your immune system may seem like a daunting task that involves a closet of supplements, but in reality, it couldn’t be easier. These five foods are extremely common household staples that can do the job much better and faster than any supplement. Sticking with whole plant-based foods is best to build your immune system. Incorporate these five foods into your plant-based diet, and be healthy, inside and out!
Written by Caroline McNally, Ramapo College Intern, with Karen Ranzi, M.A.