From vitamin A to zinc, this list of foods are easy to add as snacks or to meals. Trust us, your body will thank you.
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Tasty, pretty and the cherry on top of the benefits of acerola cherries? A half-cup of gives you 842 milligrams of vitamin C (1,370 per cent of the daily value). A vitamin C deficiency has been clinically shown to impair immunity and higher susceptibility to infections. So incorporating foods, like vitamin C-loaded cherries, makes sense to stay healthy!
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Citrus fruits are a no-brainer for getting your vitamin C. But don’t count out yellow peppers. A single yellow pepper has 341 mg of vitamin C (569 per cent of the daily value!). Bring on the fajitas, stuffed peppers, chopped salad and more.
Other foods high in vitamin C:Citrus foods and juices, strawberries, broccoli and more fruits and veggies.
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This used to be a more commonly eaten food, but liver has lost its way but is making a comeback in meat-niche restaurants. Liver from many animal sources is loaded with vitamin A, a very important nutrient for the body and the immune system. It’s also a great antioxidant. One 70-gram slice offers you 21,568 IU of vitamin A, that’s 431 per cent of the daily value. Not sure how to eat or prepare liver? Try it already prepared as a pâté, or add it to your meatloaf or chili recipes.
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Liver not your thing? Consider washing the exterior of a sweet potato with a brush and water, poke it a few times with a fork, bake it for an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and you have an immune-boosting side dish or snack. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, an essential nutrient that’s proven to help keep you healthy. One medium-size sweet potato offers 21,907 IU, which is 438 per cent of the DV. Other foods include red peppers and spinach.
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Yogurt is loaded with bacteria — but in a good way. It contains probiotics which we all know helps the gut flora flourish, which has been linked to a stronger immune system. While some probiotics are trademarked, it’s tough to compare one yogurt to the next for its probiotic content. But know that naturally all yogurt contains probiotics. So have a cup for breakfast, make it the base of your smoothie, top a bowl of fruit with a spoonful, and more.
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A tall drink of kombucha is another great source of probiotics. The tea gains all that bacteria goodness from the fermentation process and yeast. Just remember not to shake before opening a bottle. Speaking of fermentation — other probiotic foods and drinks include, wine (yes!), sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and more!
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Canned sockeye salmon
The sunshine isn’t the only way to get the "sunshine vitamin." Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that modulates immune responses — which is integral to staying healthy. Get a good dose of vitamin D with canned sockeye salmon (with bones — just crush them when you mix the meat). Add some mayonnaise and have yourself a sandwich or add to a green salad for some protein. Half a tin offers 1,0408 IU — 352 per cent of the daily value.
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A bowl of oatmeal
Start each day off with fibre and vitamin D when you have a bowl of oatmeal. One packet of oatmeal contains 154 IU of vitamin D, which is 38 per cent of the daily value. Other foods that are great sources of vitamin D? Pretty much any fish, milk (even alternative milks are fortified with D), breakfast cereals, eggs and more.
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There’s something so soothing about noshing on a baby cookie. The subtly sweet flavour takes you back instantly, but it’s the B vitamins that support the immune system to ensure it’s working and strong, especially B6.
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Another childhood throwback that’ll power your immune system? A good dose of PB. Peanut butter, also contains vitamin B6. Treat yo’self to two tablespoons of peanut butter right out of the jar, and you’re getting 0.8 mg of vitamin B6, which is 40 per cent of the daily value.
Other B6 foods include:Bell peppers, corn flakes cereals, fortified juices, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds and more.
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Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps modulate immune function — which means it keeps your immune system strong. Vegetable oil is a good source, with one tablespoon offering 5.5 mg of vitamin E, which is 28 per cent of the daily value. So why not get creative with your salad dressing, and make it yourself.
Other vitamin E sources:Oregano, ginger, basil and thyme.
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Craving a crunch snack, but want something you can feel good about eating? Chew on sunflower seeds. Just one ounce of sunflower seeds offers you nine mg of vitamin E – almost half of the daily value. Plus it’s good for skin, heart and immune system.
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Often thought of for their aphrodisiacal benefits, oysters are actually good for a healthy immune system. They contain copper, a mineral needed to help white blood cells fight off viruses and infection. Other copper-powerful foods include seaweed, liver, and mushrooms.
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When you increase your selenium intake, you increase your immune response. Consider that the next time you have a handful of Brazil Nuts. Just six nuts offers 542 mcg, 774 per cent of the daily value.
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One hard-boiled egg has 15.4mcg selenium, almost a quarter of the daily value. And at just 70 calories, it’s also good for weight maintenance. Slice two eggs and add them as the protein to your salad, sprinkle with paprika for a quick appetizer, or empty your fridge of veggies and make a delicious quiche. Other good sources of selenium include liver, giblets and dark turkey meat.
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Bran cereal is loaded with lots of nutrients, including iron. The essential mineral strengthens the immune system to give you a fighting chance against viruses and infections. A bowl with ¾ cup of bran cereal gets you 18 mg of iron, 100 per cent the daily value.
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Soybeans are also a good source of iron. A quarter cup gives you seven mg of iron, which is 40 per cent of the daily value.
Other sources of iron:Include peanut butter, livers and oatmeal.
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At your next Sunday dinner, be thankful that your roast beef contains zinc. The important mineral has been shown to help fight colds. A three-ounce piece on your plate gives you about nine mg of zinc, which is 58 per cent of the daily value. Just add a spoonful of beans, and you’ll add even more zinc to your meal.
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We’d never be one to deny you a sweet treat — and it turns out, you should either. Baking chocolate is a good source of zinc. One square (about the amount you’d chop for a single chocolate chunk cookie) offers almost three mg, which is nearly 20 per cent of the daily value. Other sources, albeit not as sweet, of zinc include: oysters, peanut butter and sesame seeds.
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Water is so good for you. Not because of its nutrients — it actually doesn’t offer nutrients. But if you swap out water for alcohol, then you’re helping your immune system. Getting drunk (a buzz counts) can impair the immune system because it affects the body’s ability to absorb the afore mentioned nutrients. So raise a glass of eau to cheers to your good health.