Do you know which vegetables are best to eat for a strong immune system? We’re here to help. Your immune system can use all the help it can get. Even when it’s not cold and flu season, or when the novel coronavirus is no longer a threat, keeping your immunity in good shape is a smart idea. In addition to practicing well-studied healthy habits like getting adequate sleep, prioritizing exercise, building relationships and engaging with your community, and using stress-relieving strategies, you can supercharge your immune system by eating the right food to help boost your immune system.
In our research, there are 5 vegetables that are commonly said to be the best vegetables to eat in order to have a strong immune system. They are bell peppers, garlic, dark leafy greens, asparagus, and broccoli. While there are many other foods that are rich in nutrients and vitamins, we are going to focus on these 5 for now! We’ll offer tips on how to eat these foods and some recipes that are sure to please your tastebuds! Check our farm store for the fresh produce that we have available that is currently in season!
Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers are full of great health benefits – they’re packed with vitamins and low in calories! They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Bell peppers also contain a healthy dose of fiber, folate, and iron.
Bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, which is essential to your immune system. According to nutritionists, bell peppers have double the amount of vitamin C than citrus fruits have. They also report that of all the hues, the red bell peppers contain the most vitamin C. So when topping your pizza, pita, or pasta sauce, reach for some red peppers. Also, bell peppers are rich in beta-carotene. Like vitamin C, beta-carotene can give your immune system a welcome boost.
Try this Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe which is full of healthy ingredients including bell peppers!
Garlic is a great source of allicin, a sulfur-containing compound associated with many health benefits. Allicin, which is responsible for the distinct taste and smell of garlic, is produced when fresh garlic is crushed or chopped. Interestingly, some research suggests that allicin could help enhance the function of your immune system. It may also offer some protection against conditions like heart disease and cancer.
However, studies show that roasting, boiling, heating, or pickling garlic can significantly reduce its allicin content. Therefore, while consuming cooked garlic can be beneficial, opting for raw garlic instead may help maximize its nutritional value.
Here are a few of the potential health benefits of raw garlic:
Improves immunity – Several studies show that garlic may help decrease inflammation and boost immune function, which may be due to its content of antioxidants and sulfur-containing compounds like allicin.
Supports heart health – Some research suggests that garlic may help lower blood pressure and decrease cholesterol levels to support heart health.
Stabilizes blood sugar levels – Garlic may help reduce fasting blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar management, which may be beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes.
Protects brain health – Although research in humans is limited, animal studies show that consuming high amounts of fresh garlic or aged garlic extract could improve memory and support brain health.
Dark leafy green vegetables are all the rage among health-conscious eaters. But the fact is that few of us meet the minimum recommendations for the intake of these nutritional powerhouses. So what makes a vegetable a “powerhouse” vegetable? According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control, a powerhouse vegetable is one that supplies on average, 10% or more of the daily value of 17 qualifying nutrients per 100 calories.
The top-rated green powerhouse vegetables are watercress, chard, beet greens, spinach, and chicory. But other vegetables are also strong contenders, including Chinese cabbage, collard greens, kale, and leaf lettuce. Understanding the health benefits of dark green vegetables may help inspire you to up your intake.
Try this Sautéed Beet Greens recipe which shows off their delicious texture and sweet, mild flavour!
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin E, an important antioxidant. This vitamin helps strengthen your immune system and protects cells from the harmful effects of free radicals. To fill up on its benefits, roast asparagus with a little olive oil. Our body absorbs vitamin E better if it’s eaten alongside some fat.
Asparagus is also full of folate, a B vitamin that could lift your spirits and help ward off irritability. Researchers have found a connection between low levels of folate and vitamin B12 in people who are suffering from depression, leading some doctors to prescribe daily doses of both vitamins to patients with depression. Asparagus also contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid that has been similarly linked to improved mood.
Not only is asparagus low in fat and calories (one cup sets you back only a mere 32 calories), but it also contains lots of soluble and insoluble fiber, making it a good choice if you’re trying to lose weight. Because your body digests fiber slowly, it keeps you feeling full in between meals.
Fiber can definitely help you feel satiated, making it beneficial for weight loss. It can also aid constipation, and research suggests it may help lower cholesterol. To maximize the veggie’s calorie-torching potential, pair it with a hard-boiled egg: the combination of fiber-rich asparagus with the egg’s protein will leave you feeling satisfied.
Being rich in sulphur, broccoli is known to support gut health, and as a result, improves your defense against infection. This is because sulphur supports the production of glutathione which is important for maintaining the integrity of the gut lining, as well as supporting its repair. As a potent antioxidant, glutathione works throughout the body protecting cells from inflammatory damage.
Broccoli is also very good for heart health, cancer preventative compounds, eye health, and hormonal balance.
Try this recipe that is claimed to be “Seriously, the Best Broccoli of Your Life” and add some healthy veggies to your table!
Making smart food choices can help you manage your weight and lower your risk for certain chronic (long-term) diseases. When you eat healthily, you can reduce your risk of becoming overweight and developing heart disease. If you can feed your body what it needs to in order to boost your immune system – why not? The recipes we’ve shared in this blog are sure to inspire you to cook more veggies and enjoy a healthy diet all at the same time!