Yoga is a great way to combat germs and illness, but if you still find yourself fighting the flu or warding off a virus, you may need to take a closer look at your diet. Certain vitamins and minerals play a huge part in beefing up our immune systems and guarding against unwanted sickness. When a healthy diet is combined with physical activity, those germs don’t stand a chance!
Here's is a list of the top immune-boosting vitamins and minerals and their food sources, as well as a flu-fighting recipe that incorporates them all!
What is it? A water soluble vitamin that is not produced by our bodies, and therefore is an essential dietary component. It acts as an important physiological antioxidant and has been shown to regenerate other antioxidants within the body, including vitamin E. It also plays an important role in immune function and improves the absorption of non-heme iron (iron from plant-based foods).
Where can I find it? red peppers, oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, green peppers, and broccoli
What is it? A fat soluble vitamin known for its antioxidant capabilities and role in immune function.
Where can I find it? wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts and broccoli
Vitamin A (beta-carotene):
What is it? A fat soluble vitamin involved in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication. Vitamin A also plays a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs. Beta-carotene is a provitamin found in plant pigments that is converted in our bodies to vitamin A.
Where can I find it? sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, mangoes, and apricots
What is it? An essential mineral that plays a role in immune function, protein synthesis, wound healing, and DNA synthesis. Low zinc status has been associated with increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other infections.
Where can I find it? oysters, beef, crab, fortified cereal, lobster, pork, chick peas, swiss cheese, oatmeal
What is it? A trace element that plays a role in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection.
Where can I find it? brazil nuts, yellowfin tuna, halibut, sardines, cottage cheese, brown rice, and eggs.
Remember, vitamins and minerals are best utilized by your body when they come from FOOD, so ditch the supplements and head to the market!
adapted from Just Eat Real Food (via multiplydelicious.com)
1 pound brussels sprouts (vitamins A and C)
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes (about 1 cup) (vitamins A and C)
1 Fuji apple, cut into 1/2 cubes (vitamin C)
1 Pear, cut into 1/2 cubes (vitamin C)
3/4 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 cubes (vitamin E, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (antioxidant properties, aids in absorption of fat soluble vitamins)
1/3 cup toasted cashews or almonds, diced (selenium and zinc)
1/4 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit of your choice
Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Wash brussels sprouts and cut the ends off, then cut into halves or quarters depending on how big your brussels are. The goal is to try to have all the fruit and veggies in this dish to be about the same size so they cook evenly. Just keep this in mind when chopping everything up.
Add brussels sprouts, sweet potato cubes, apple cubes, pear cubes, butternut squash cubes, sea salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss together. Add melted coconut oil over veggies and fruit to evenly coat. Add mixture to baking sheet and spread evenly to coat the pan.
Cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until veggies and fruit are soft and tender. The cooking time will depend on how large you make your cubes too. Immediately after removing pan from oven sprinkle toasted chopped cashews and cranberries over the veggies and fruit and stir to combine.
Serve immediately on it’s own or as a side.
Makes about 4-5 servings.Reference: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institute of Health; http://ods.od.nih.gov/