March 15, 2022

Building and Sustaining Immunity with Foods

By Stephanie Collett


 

The pandemic has really heightened attention focused on our immune system working at full capacity. Keeping ourselves healthy includes many practices such as adequate sleep, detaching from work, daily exercise, and making healthy food choices. Daily food choices can really make a difference. Foods with high levels of vitamin E, C, zinc, and sulfur can boost one’s immune system. Although we may not be able to completely ward off colds, viruses, or illnesses, we can build our defenses and give our bodies extra protection.

Incorporating high-quality foods in our daily meals and snacks can be easy to do with a little creativity.  Here is a list of some of the top high-quality foods to help strengthen and build immunity: spinach, garlic, strawberries, chickpeas, broccoli, red bell pepper, and sunflower seeds.

Listed below are simple ideas to incorporate into your daily meals.

  • Combine fresh spinach with scrambled eggs.
  • Slice red bell pepper and dip into garlic hummus made from chickpeas.
  • Slice ½ c strawberries onto your morning pancakes or blend in your morning smoothie. Throw spinach into your smoothie as well. You will not even know it is in there.
  • Sunflower seeds can be added to your favorite muffin recipes, added to salads, or just eaten by the handful.
  • Broccoli goes with anything! Add to your pizza, salad, rice, or just enjoy some crunch with a little dressing.

Here is a quick recipe for Pan Sheet Broccoli. Make sure to use foil for easy clean-up. You may never steam your broccoli again! It comes out perfectly crisp! Recipe source: www.epicurious.com

  • 3 large heads broccoli (3 ½ to 4 pounds total), trimmed, cut into florets with some stalk attached (cut the florets in half if large)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • Optional: freshly grated parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Place broccoli florets in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Add olive oil, garlic, season with salt and pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine.
  3. Place into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Parmesan.