GO PUMPKIN PICKING!
Pumpkin is a great immune-system booster since it is rich in betacarotene, which helps fight against oxygen cells called free radicals that damage healthy cells. Although you may not think of it this way, skin is actually the largest organ in your body and plays a critical role in the immune system. Keeping skin healthy with regular doses of beta-carotene can go a long way in boosting overall health. To increase your intake, add mashed pumpkin as a side dish to meals, cook up a warm and comforting pumpkin soup, or add puréed pumpkin to your favorite pancake recipe for a delicious breakfast treat. Red apples (your “As”) contain quercetin, which can help boost your immune system. Delight your kids with an apple sandwich by using a melon corer to remove the apple’s core and cutting one half-inch off the top and bottom of the apple. Then cut horizontally into slices that look like donuts with holes in the middle. Spread peanut butter and some granola in the middle of the two slices for an extra crunch! Don’t forget your “Bs” and “Cs”: broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, of course. These vegetables are rich in antioxidant vitamins. Broccoli and cauliflower both have glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off infection. Carrots are chock-full of beta-carotene, a valiant fighter against bacteria that try to enter the bloodstream and cause trouble. When it comes to the fight against colds and flu this season, your fork may be your best defense. Aim to fill your plate with whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein options such as fish and shellfish, and round it out with whole grains and healthy fats for improved health this season and every season.
Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, LDN, is a nationally recognized nutrition, diabetes, and fitness expert. She is a best-selling author of 4 books and the featured expert on the best-selling diabetes iPad app Diabetes: What Now? // erinpalinski.com