Flu season is here again and in attempts to get away from the virus, people are looking into food that will help boost their immune system.
As you may already know, a strong immune system is the key to not getting sick. Adults and doctors alike always advise you to change your diet into a healthier one so that your body will be able to ward off bacteria attempting to make you sick. However, it’s not that easy.
By just taking a look at a lot of Americans kitchens, you’ll already see a lot of fried foods, processed foods, junk foods, carbonated drinks, and even packs of candies or chocolates. But these foods will only bring you closer to all sorts of diseases.
It even increases the risk of chronic diseases according to Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist and registered dietitian at the NYU Langone Health.
These unhealthy foods give your immune system a difficult time to protect the body because the immune system itself does not have the right nutrients and minerals needed to function properly.
What Nutrients Does The Body Need?
Dr. Eddie Fatakhov, a physician and nutritionist at the Center for Internal and Integrative Medicine in Alpharetta, Georgia, has come up with a guide to help you know which nutrients are good for the body. He referred to this guide as the rainbow. Here’s how it goes.
Red, Orange, Yellow
Red, orange, and yellow foods are almost always rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed to strengthen the immune system which is the primary protection of your body.
Rich sources of this vitamin are citrus fruits which come in these warm colors. However, vitamin C is not just found in oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and key limes. They are also found in strawberries, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower (which does not exactly have a warm color).
To be able to get the most vitamin C from food, avoid storing them in the fridge for long periods of time. Also, cooking them too long will reduce the vitamin C content. If you can, try to eat the fruits fresh so you don’t lose any of their nutrients.
Green is the color of vegetables – well, most vegetables. To be exact, green leafy vegetables should be your new best friend because they are rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D is another nutrient that aids the immune system. But green leafy vegetables don’t just have vitamin D. They are packed with other nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and other minerals.
According to Dr. Fatakhov, green leafy vegetables contain indole-3-carbinol, which has been proven to reduce the chances of getting cancer. Although more research is being conducted, these vegetables have enough minerals in them that will be beneficial for the whole body.
And finally, you have your cool colors. You might be wondering what foods fall in this category. If you haven’t thought about it yet, then dried fruits are the answer.
Dried fruits aren’t always a popular choice in healthy eating simply because they often come in packs. At the same time, it’s harder to find dried fruits that are organic and not filled with preservatives.
Nonetheless, dried fruits like dates, prunes, and figs are rich in fiber. Fiber is responsible for having a proper bowel movement. It also aids your digestive system to easily break down the food you eat.
There’s also a difference when you eat these fruits as is or when they’re dried. For dates and prunes, it is better to have the water taken from the fruit because this leaves a more concentrated mixture of nutrients and fiber.
Going Beyond Rainbow Colors
Just because you follow the rainbow guide doesn’t mean that you close your doors to other foods that are not colorful. Take, for example, beans, garlic, and Adlai are very nutritious foods but they aren’t as colorful as the ones mentioned above. It would help that you strike a balance by using this guide and mixing other nutritious foods to this diet.
Also, not everyone will find that this diet works for them and that’s okay. Different people have different needs. Hence, the best way to get the most nutrients is to know which foods are the best sources for the nutrients that your body needs.