We are gearing up for the summer season loaded with a variety of fruits and vegetables harvested locally. Many of these natural goodies are loaded with antioxidants that boost the immune system. Why is this important? There is no pill that can do it! We have pills for many different conditions and diseases, but at the root cause of many of these health challenges — is a weakened immune system!
Don’t wait until the cold and flu season to load up the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E! Here are some food recommendations that are natural immune boosters and popular with kids:
Berries are antioxidant powerhouses and kids LOVE them. Buy them frozen this time of year and add them to smoothies and pancakes.
Sweet Potato is deliciously sweet and loaded with vitamin A. Make my Sweet Potato Pancakes this weekend for breakfast and freeze the extras. Reheat for easy breakfasts throughout the week.
Carrots loaded with beta carotene that the body naturally converts to beta carotene. They are sweet and a favorite with children. Shred carrots and add to your favorite cole slaw recipe and summer salads.
Red or green bell pepper – One raw sweet red bell pepper actually has more than two days’ worth of vitamin C, and the green variety has about 150% of the daily value (DV). Slice them up and serve with hummus or white bean dip.
Dark Leafy Greens — kale, collards, spinach and chard are abundant right now and loaded with good nutrition. Eat them raw in a tossed salad or your favorite smoothie or sautee’ them with a little extra virgin olive oil and garlic!
Cauliflower – Looks like it’s time for some of Mike’s Sicilian Stew to load up on cold-busting cauliflower!
Parsnips – Because there’s nothing like chicken noodle soup to get you through the sniffles, be sure to serve up some of our Homemade Chicken Penicillin Soup, full of immunity-boosting veggies!
Bonus: Get Dirty! Tending the garden and working in the organic soil exposes us to natural vitamins, minerals and a dynamic local ecosystem that will help boost the immune system. Try it!
Eating a variety of nature’s bounty and getting dirty in our local environments will be exactly the immune booster we need!
Stacey Antine, MS, RDN, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, director, HealthBarn Foundation, and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.