It’s a new year! 2019 has begun and the holiday season has come to an end. With the popularity of New Year's resolutions and diet changes, many of us are beginning a road to recovery from too much Christmas ham and New Year’s eggnog. As we go into 2019, we have some suggestions for powerful “cold-fighting foods” -- foods packed with nutrients useful for keeping you healthy and helping your body be fully equipped to fight colds. Below are seven of these super “cold-fighters” to keep in mind when you’re sick or trying to keep your body strong.
1. Bell Peppers
We’ve written plenty about Vitamin C’s benefits for the immune system before, but usually this vitamin is thought of in the context of citrus fruits. What you may not know is that bell peppers, especially red and yellow peppers, are incredibly high in Vitamin C. In fact, one half cup of chopped red pepper has around twice as much of the vitamin as a typical orange. To top it off, this vegetable is also high in beneficial phytochemicals and beta-carotene. Bell peppers get a solid thumbs up from us.
Tropical “kiwis” can make for a tasty treat. Small and colorful, with a flavor somewhere between sweet and sour, these tart little fruits are also potent sources of Vitamin C. Again, these aren’t your traditional citrus source, as kiwis are a non-citrus fruit, yet contain more than 3 times the amount of Vitamin C of an orange! It also has high levels of fiber and of Vitamin E, which has been shown to help with the production of immunoglobulins. These help our bodies keep out the “bad guys”, destroying pathogens that try to do us harm.
A lesser-known fruit in the US, guava actually has a range of surprisingly potent health benefits. One cup of guava has more than four times the daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. This tropical fruit comes with other benefits as well, including folate, fiber, antioxidants, flavonoids and Vitamin A. This fruit is an easy snack too, as you can eat the whole thing, including the rind and seeds.
Popeye’s favorite veggie is good for more than just helping to keep him strong. Packed with antioxidants and beta-carotene, both of which may help our immune systems fight infections, one cup of chopped, raw mustard spinach also packs plenty of vitamin C. It’s an easy addition to all sorts of meals too. Think of the variety of ways you could replace other greens with this powerhouse: Top off your sandwiches with spinach instead of lettuce, make spinach the core leaf in your salads, add a handful of spinach to smoothies...the possibilities are endless. Your body will thank you for going with this green.
5. Black beans
While protein might not be at the top of your mind when thinking about nutrients important in the context of fighting colds, a proper amount of protein is important for helping your body to maintain, build, and repair body tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections. A great, healthy source of protein, and some other key nutrients? Beans. Also contained in a nutritious serving are various amino acids and minerals (including zinc), crucial for keeping your body healthy and running smoothly.
6. Seeds (Pumpkin and Sunflower)
Here’s a healthy snack. You may not know it, but some of your favorite seeds can double as incredible health boosters! Take pumpkin seeds, for example. Don’t let their fat levels throw you off, these seeds are full of “healthy fats”, including omega-3 and omega-6. Additionally, they contain nutrients beneficial for keeping a strong body and healthy immune system, such as iron, selenium, calcium, B vitamins and beta-carotene.
Sunflower seeds are also high in “healthy fats” and nutrients. The seeds have plenty of vitamin E (which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties), selenium (which may protect against cell damage), copper (supports proper immune function), and zinc (our favorite mineral, and the active ingredient in our products for shortening colds!).
7. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes might not be the first thing you think about when searching for health hack foods, but these roots pack a punch of health for you, and in ways that are less common than, say, high levels of Vitamin C or protein. The real “magic” quality about sweet potatoes is their incredibly high levels of Vitamin A, which has been tied to immune function and vision too.
The great thing about sweet potatoes is that they can be prepared in a variety of ways. You can get these nutrients by mashing, boiling, or baking your sweet potatoes. A crowd favorite is sweet potato fries! Fries might not be the healthiest way to eat this, but hey, everyone gets a cheat day;)
As your year begins, make a habit of keeping some of these healthy foods on hand. We made sure to provide you with a range of options that can serve as meal bases, side dishes, or even healthy snacks. Go into 2019 ready to keep your body ready to take on any colds that come your way.