5 Foods for a Strong Immune System
How It Works
While I have read that vitamins B6, C & E, magnesium, and zinc are the key micronutrients needed to keep an immune system strong, I’m much more focused on eating the actual foods that have high amounts of these micronutrients to stave off illness. It is no wonder that the company I started four years ago, OurHarvest - a New York-based, online farmers market and grocery delivery service - makes local, healthy, and delicious food more accessible.
In gearing up for the start of school and what will surely be another whirlwind year of startup life, like most moms, staying healthy is at the forefront of my mind. After research and trial and error, here are the top five foods I eat regularly to keep me going full-steam ahead. After all, it’s way more fun to let food be thy medicine, rather than having to take medicine!
For Vitamin B6 - Salmon: Animal protein in general contains some of the richest sources of Vitamin B6, and salmon is among those foods high in this micronutrient. It’s also a great option for lean protein and is full of omega 3 fatty acids. Our salmon is particularly amazing and is consistently one of our most popular products. It’s organically raised in the pristine waters of the Faroe Islands and is cut fresh (never frozen!) daily.
For Vitamin C - Tomatoes: Betcha thought I was going to say “orange”! 😊Tomatoes are actually my go-to source for Vitamin C. I’m addicted to Sungolds in particular – the orange-colored variety of cherry tomatoes that are as sweet as candy and peak season right now. Roasting them actually brings out the nutrients even more and makes for a delicious side dish that pairs well with just about anything. If I’m looking for an extra Vitamin C boost, I like to add a splash of lemon juice to my water. For this, Natalie’s Orchid Island’s fresh squeezed lemon juice is my savior. It’s nothing but plain ole’, fresh squeezed lemon juice – without the mess of having to juice anything yourself. Pro-tip: I also pour some of the juice into ice cube trays and freeze for a later date.
For Vitamin E - Peanut Butter: I have loved peanut butter for as long as I can remember, which works out well for me, because in addition to being vitamin-rich, it also is a great source of protein. I also find that eating a tablespoon in the morning gives me an added boost of energy that keeps me going. I think Saratoga’s Plain Jane Creamy peanut butter is the best, especially since it only has two ingredients – 100% dry roasted peanuts & kosher salt.
For Magnesium - Spinach: Low levels of magnesium can make you feel tired and weak, so if I’m feeling run down, I make sure to stock up on spinach. I opt for baby spinach from Satur Farm on the North Fork of Long Island, which – BONUS – comes pre-washed, making it easier to incorporate into whatever meal I am putting together. I like to fold it into an omelet, add leaves to a green salad, or simply sauté it with shallots.
For Zinc - Chickpeas: These little guys pack a powerful punch. In addition to containing a lot of fiber, protein, magnesium and Vitamin B6, chickpeas contain a ton of zinc. Plus they taste WAY better than those zinc lozenges I used to suffer through when I started to sniffle. I always have a carton of Finest Foods sprouted chickpeas in my fridge, which I love to roast with paprika and eat as a snack.
What You’ll Need
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My food philosophy is simple and can be summed up in three words: “Eat Real Food.” Which is to say I make choices that make me feel nourished, healthy and strong. This is especially important because, as a working, sleep-deprived mom of a toddler, I have no time to get sick. And of course, I’m at an even greater risk of getting sick because I am working, sleep-deprived mom of a toddler.
Given my schedule, I am not always able to incorporate all of the guidelines for maintaining a strong immune system like getting 8 hours of sleep, exercising daily (wouldn’t that be nice?), and minimizing my stress (did I mention that I am a Co-Founder of a startup?!). But one thing I will always make time for is eating well. Food is not only core to providing the physical nourishment I need to keep me going, but coming together and spending time over a delicious, healthy meal is also crucial to the way my family operates. Our hope with OurHarvest is that we help you do the same!
For more information on OurHarvest, and to shop for these immune-boosting foods, go to www.ourharvest.com and use coupon code "NUTMEG" for 25% off and free delivery on your first order.