Don’t you love fall? Shorter, darker days are a great excuse to spend more time in the kitchen. Rib-sticking foods like winter squash, sweet potatoes and pears are at their peak. And the weather is just right for long runs outside. What’s not to love about fall? Cold season. Without taking the time to take care of yourself, it’s easy to end up sidelined on the couch for days, cuddled up with a box of Kleenex and watching more Netflix than you’d care to admit.
This year, why not take a different approach? In addition to making sure that you get plenty of sleep and exercise, try fortifying your immune defenses with foods before cold season kicks in. Here, five foods to help get the job done:
100% Orange Juice – Even though we know that vitamin C is a natural immune booster, many of us still don’t get enough. One of the easiest ways to get your fill is by starting your day with an 8-ounce glass of Tropicana Pure Premium 100% orange juice. Before you even head out the door you’ll net 120% of your day’s vitamin C and two servings of fruit. For an extra shot of immune support, look for the variety fortified with vitamin D.
Sweet potatoes – These spuds are loaded with Vitamin A, which keeps the linings of our lungs and nasal passages healthy so they can fend off foreign invaders. With one-and-a-half times your daily dose per medium sweet potato, they boast more vitamin A than any other vegetable. I love them for dinner topped with black beans, plain Greek yogurt and salsa. Yum!
Oatmeal – Oats don’t just keep your heart healthy. Their beta-glucan fiber is also an antioxidant that ups the activity of white blood cells, which defend against viruses and bacteria. You already know they make a great breakfast. But did you know they can go savory too? Try them in an oatmeal risotto with sautéed mushrooms (another immunity booster), sage and pecorino cheese.
Oysters – Even a mild zinc deficiency can have a huge impact on your immune health. And if you don’t eat red meat, you might not be getting all the zinc you need. Enter oysters*. Just six of these babies offer up more than twice your daily dose of zinc. Not a fan of shucking? Toss canned, smoked oysters into a Caesar salad for the world’s easiest zinc fix.
Eggs – In addition to building muscle and keeping you full between meals, protein has another important job – it helps build antibodies. Because our bodies can’t store protein the way they store fat and carbs, the trick is to eat protein-rich foods at every meal. Eggs make it easy, and they boast one of the highest-quality forms of protein around. But don’t just save them for breakfast. Try them poached or fried on top of pasta for an instant protein kick.
* Be aware of food safety considerations when eating raw oysters, and if you’re a high-risk individual you should not eat raw oysters.
Thanks to Tropicana for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.