Holiday Food Fight
Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables provide nutrients—like beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E—that can boost immune function. Because many vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods are also rich in antioxidants, they help combat the number of molecules that negatively affect the body.
- Beta-Carotene: Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation and boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body. Excellent sources include sweet potatoes, carrots, and green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamins C and E: Vitamins C and E are antioxidants that help to destroy free radicals and support the body’s natural immune response. Sources of vitamin C include red peppers, oranges, strawberries, broccoli, mangoes, lemons, and other fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E sources include nuts, seeds, spinach, and broccoli.
- Vitamin D: Research shows that taking vitamin D supplements may help reduce the risk for viral infections, including respiratory tract infections. Increased vitamin D in the blood stream has been linked to prevention of other chronic diseases including tuberculosis, hepatitis, and cardiovascular disease. Food sources of vitamin D include fortified cereals and plant-based milks and supplements. Being in the sunlight for at least 10 minutes per day also helps to increase the amount of vitamin D in the body.
- Zinc: Zinc is a mineral that can help boost white blood cells, which defend against invaders. Sources include nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, beans, and lentils.
Adapted from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Try one of the following recipes as a replacement for the traditional dressing or yams. These options contain a combination of the nutrients that can help to keep you and your family safe during this holiday season by boosting your immune system. These recipes are inexpensive because the produce is currently in season. Safely enjoy these delicious holiday recipes by following the safety guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.