Fall is a favourite season for many with beautiful colours, cozy sweaters and everything pumpkin spice. But one thing fall brings that is a little less thrilling is cold and flu season.
Wearing a mask in public, staying away from others who are sick, washing your hands regularly and getting enough rest are a few of the things you can do to stay healthy. But maintaining a good diet is equally important.
Here are three simple things you can add to your diet to help boost your immunity:
Research shows Vitamin C can help make your immune system stronger, but before you reach for supplements, there are lots of food sources that naturally contain it. While you may only think of oranges and other citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, broccoli and kiwi are also great sources.
Tip: Make a bell pepper sandwich by slicing the pepper in half and taking out the seeds and adding your choice of meat, vegetables or cheese. You can customize this for breakfast, lunch or dinner and play around with different techniques.
Include adequate protein-rich foods because they contain nutrients that are important for immune health. Zinc helps maintain immune function and can be found in meat, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, soy, legumes, nuts and seeds. Try adding more beans to your soups and sauces or nuts and seeds to your yogurt and baking to get more of this immune-boosting nutrient.
Tip: During your annual pumpkin carving, save some pumpkin seeds and roast them in the oven at 400°F for 20 minutes. Make it fun and add cinnamon and brown sugar or make it spicy with siracha.
Foods with probiotics, such as kefir and yogurt, can benefit our gut and immune health. Be sure to look for the word “probiotic” on the label, as this is a regulated term. Try including more of these foods by having yogurt parfaits, using yogurt in dips and adding kefir to your morning smoothie.
Tip: Try yogurt bark for an easy on-the-go breakfast. Simply spread probiotic yogurt on a parchment-lined baking sheet and add toppings of your choice, such as berries, bananas, honey and chocolate. Freeze for two to three hours or until firm.
Looking for more inspiration? Reach out to your local Loblaws dietitian for more immune-boosting recipe ideas. They also provide a range of services, including phone consultations and online workshops. Find one near you at bookadietitian.ca.