During the winter months, many of us find ourselves sniffling and sneezing. Especially if you have kids who go to daycare or school, kids tend to bring these germs back home. What better way to enhance your body’s immune function than with these immune – boosting foods?
What usually comes first to mind is the power of antioxidants. We had just talked about good sources of antioxidants in our last Movember post. Adding to the list of immune boosters are food rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. These food include citrus fruits, pumpkin, spinach, kiwis, peppers, kale and broccoli. Pair these foods with zinc, and you have yourself an even stronger anti-oxidant powerhouse. Typical food sources of zinc are beans, whole grains, eggs, dairy and fortified cereals. Check out our recipe for broccoli scramble and pair with brown rice and oranges for a complete meal.
Another very important part of boosting your immune system is to maintain a healthy gut. My go-to? Prebiotics and probiotics. There are a lot of supplements on the market, but you might be surprised by how easily you can get prebiotics and probiotics in your everyday food.
Prebiotics are non-digestible food substances that help the good bacteria in your gut thrive and multiply. Some examples that you are probably already eating include the following: bananas, artichokes, garlic, onions, whole-grains, and soybeans.
Probiotics, on the other hand, are the actual “good” bacteria. You want to eat lots of probiotics so the “good” bacteria thrives in your intestines, thereby boosting immunity. According to Today’s Dietitian, probiotics can help manage irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, lactose intolerance and more.
The most common examples of probiotics are fermented dairy products such as yogurt and kefir. Lesser-known examples include fermented food like sauerkraut, miso, kimchi, and kombucha tea. Centuries of anecdotal evidence of kombucha’ healing effects include improving digestion and preventing cancer. In one study in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Medicine or Food, kombucha was shown to have antioxidant property and promoted immunity.
You might have seen kombucha tea at your grocery store or have tried to make it at home yourself. Store bought versions are safe per the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.) There are also dried versions in the form of kombucha tea bags.
A word of caution, however- Please be extra careful if you are DIYing this. The bowl you use to make kombucha can have excessive bacteria and mold if you leave it for too long. The CDC recommends that people limit their consumption of kombucha tea to 4 ounces per day.
Last, but definitely not least are the immune boosting properties of teas. Sipping green tea can keep you warm and healthy during these winter days due to its anti inflammatory properties.
Here’s my take on an immune boosting beverage: give it a try and let us know what you think.
Pomegranate Green Tea Kombucha
- 8 tea bags Green tea kombucha
- 8 ounces Sparkling water
- 12 ounces Pomegranate juice
Gather your ingredients.
Cold brew your green tea. Take eight teabags, and steep in 4 ounces of cold water for 30 minutes. (I left mine in the refrigerator overnight.)
Mix the tea, 8 ounces of sparkling water, and 12 ounces of pomegranate juice in a pitcher. Enjoy!
Cold brewing tea yields a sweeter, less caffeinated tea.
You can swap out the plain sparkling water for a fruit flavored one for a sweet twist.