Our immune system consists of organs, cells, proteins, and tissues. Together, these carry out bodily processes that fend off viruses, foreign bodies, and bacteria, which cause illnesses or infections. Keeping your body primed to fight off pathogens is essential in preventing you from falling sick, a priority as you go into your golden years.
Here are the 8 vegetables for immune system strength you can consider incorporating into your diet.
This cruciferous veggie is packed with vitamin A, C and E, and many other antioxidants, fit for boosting your immunity. As a bonus, it also serves as a great source of fiber which can lower your blood sugar levels and help in digestion.
Do you enjoy smoothies? Consider blending leafy greens like kale into your fruit smoothies for an added boost of immunity. Vegetables like collard greens and arugula also contain high levels of vitamin C, K and beta carotene, which also strengthen your immune system.
The high vitamin C content of carrots helps your body build up antibodies that defend your immune system. What’s more, is that they contain three minerals that are crucial for a strong immune system: iron, zinc and copper.
They not only pair well with steak, but asparagus also boasts various health benefits. Being high in vitamin E, this vegetable serves as a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells from the harmful effects of free radicals.
Here’s a pro tip: try cooking your asparagus in a bit of vegetable oil as it helps your body to absorb the vitamin E better.
Radishes contain a substantial amount of vitamin C, which can help in boosting the production of white blood cells in your body, thereby strengthening your immune system. Cook them in a simple soup, or sauté them in some garlic for a delicious and healthy side dish!
Speaking of garlic, did you know that this aromatic ingredient is known for its ability to improve heart health and prevent infections? Due to its high concentration of sulphur-containing compounds like diallyl disulphide, garlic boasts anti-inflammatory properties that are also good for your immune system.
Some ways to incorporate more garlic into your diet include cooking up oven-roasted garlic mushrooms or asparagus, as well as adding them to your proteins such as baked chicken.
Artichokes are a rich source of fiber, iron, potassium, and other antioxidants which help in maintaining the condition of your immune system. Cell damage can impair your immune functioning, and consuming artichokes may just be the remedy to repair your cells, due to their naturally high polyphenol content.
Fight the flu by incorporating sweet potatoes into your meals. This root vegetable is not only known to be delicious and filling, but it is also one of the richest sources of beta-carotene, a plant-based compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body, which is critical for a healthy immune system.
Diet is just one part of the equation when it comes to maintaining your body’s immune response. Make sure to get enough exercise so that your body is better equipped to ward off illnesses.
Independent living communities often offer structured programs where you can engage in fitness regimes tailored to your abilities, as well as enabling you to partake in dining experiences where meals are specially prepared to suit your individual dietary needs.