What you can eat to boost your immune system.
Did you ever wonder how the colors of the rainbow can naturally boost your immune system? A colorful plate of food provides an assortment of powerful vitamins and nutrients that can help support healthy body systems and is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Tomatoes, watermelon, red grapes, red peppers, and others—contain a phytochemical called lycopene, which gives them their red color. Research suggests* that lycopene may help protect against cancer, reduce inflammation, and fight free radicals in the body.
Carrots, mangoes, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and other bright orange or yellow foods get their colors from alpha- and beta-carotene. This antioxidant is converted into vitamin A in your body and is essential for eye health, strong joints and bones, and a healthy immune system.
Green plants, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and zucchini, are packed with chlorophyll, an antioxidant that’s been shown to have the potential to reduce inflammation and related illnesses. Green foods are also high in fiber and folate, as well as vitamin C and vitamin K. Generally, the darker the veggies, the more of a nutrient punch they provide. Next time you have a salad, try swapping out iceberg lettuce for nutrient-dense dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, or arugula.
Blue and purple foods, like blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, and plums, are packed with super-charged antioxidants that may promote heart and brain function and help reduce inflammation all over the body. A study performed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that a half-cup serving of blueberries contained the same quantity of antioxidants as five servings of other fruits and vegetables.
White veggies, like cauliflower, mushrooms, and garlic, are part of the rainbow too. They contain essential quantities of vitamin B-6 and vitamin C to help support bone health and reduce inflammation. Chop up some garlic and onions to add to your next homemade sauce, or eat a banana to start your day.
As an added bonus, below is a healthy recipe that includes a lot of color and it tastes good too!
Colorful Vegetable Soup
- 1 lb. or so chopped up boneless chicken thighs
- Several cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- Shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 3-4 carrots, sliced
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- Green beans, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
- Several leaves dinosaur kale
- 1 carton chicken bone broth or vegetable broth
- 1-2 cans garbanzos
- 1 cup white wine
- 3-4 bay leaves
- Fresh or dried rosemary
- 1 tsp of basil
- 1 tsp of smoked paprika
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Juice of one lemon
- 2-4 cups water
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tbsp butter
In a large pot, add olive oil and butter, turn pan on medium high. Chop up chicken in chunky pieces. Add garlic, mushrooms, and onion, and cook until chicken is done. Add other vegetables, and sauté for a few minutes. Add the seasonings. Add broth, wine, lemon juice, garbanzos, and water. Bring to a boil, add lid and cook for an hour or more over low to medium heat with lid on. Serves a crowd or makes great leftovers!
*Research was provided by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health