The winter can be a tricky time for our bodies.
Most of us don't eat as much fruit and don't drink nearly enough water as we did during the summer (aka, the good ole days). Our friends are getting sick left and right and passing their germs to us.
The gym schedule we promised we would stick to is slowly dwindling to two or three days a week at most, and our one-day off rule during the summer no longer applies.
All of this can lead to a shattered immune system.
Instead of hitting the gym until you pass out, grab these six items next time you are at the grocery store to boost your immune system:
1. Citrus fruits
Citrus foods are one of the biggest super foods during the colder months.
Clementines, for example, are a winter fruit available from early to late November through the winter.
Citrus fruits are great for your immune system because they are filled with vital minerals and nutrients such as calcium, potassium and Vitamin C. Not to mention, citrus fruits do wonders in contributing to healthy skin.
All of these vital things are beneficial for our bodies and provide antioxidative protection against the damaging effects of falling off the wagon with our healthy habits.
2. Red bell peppers
You'd think citrus fruits would be number one when it comes to Vitamin C, but red bell peppers actually hold three times as much as an orange does.
When it comes to cooking with red peppers, there's a huge variety of recipes you can add them to.
We all know how healthy and strong Popeye the Sailor Man was with his spinach habit, and spinach is a super accessible food. From grocery stores to public markets, there is no reason to not pick some up this winter.
Spinach is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol. It is high in zinc and the essential Vitamins A, C, E and K and even more.
There are infinite amounts of healthy recipes you can make with spinach, ranging from super simple (like cheese and spinach stuffed portobellos) to a little more complicated (such as rice, cheddar and spinach pie).
Chicken soup is good for the soul and your immune system. Not only does it soothe your cold symptoms, but it can also prevent colds to begin with.
Poultry — both chicken and turkey — are super high in Vitamin B6, and it also aids in the development of new and healthy red blood cells.
Chicken is, in my opinion, one of the easiest dinners to make.
My personal favorite is a chicken, broccoli and rice dish with a pesto sauce. The broccoli is high in Vitamins A, E and C along with numerous antioxidants.
Shellfish can be a little less accessible and a bit more expensive to buy for nightly dinners, but it is packed with zinc, a mineral that greatly effects our immune systems.
Zinc essentially helps our immune cells function, keeping our bodies healthy. But, zinc can be a little tricky when it comes to the amount we can consume.
If you eat too much too often, it can actually inhibit the function of our immune system.
You can pair chilled shellfish, such as crab, with a spring mix blend of salad, a variety of veggies and a light balsamic dressing.
Turmeric can be found in various curry sauces, and it has been used for years to help promote good health and prevent disease.
It is a spice that can be added to almost anything to give yourself a little boost in the immune department. From eggs to veggies, to even juice, turmeric can be used in a variety of different recipes.
The easiest option for me is to add it to my sautéed vegetables. You can just sprinkle it in your olive oil along with ginger, another immune-boosting food.
These are just a few of the many foods that are so beneficial to your immune health.
Just simply by adding these into your meals throughout the week can make a huge difference.