As today’s headlines continue to show alarming rates of the flu across the US, I am focusing on increasing the quality of nutrient dense foods at our dinner table. It is so very important to boost the immune system during times as the present, where our bodies are being exposed to viruses and bacteria wanting to attack the body. Top of this list are the amazing super powerhouse foods ~ berries ~ full of anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and flavonoids. When I am talking about these superfoods, I am referring to blueberries (my favorite), strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and the delicious blackberries.
I mentioned 4 reasons that the berry is such a powerhouse as they contain anti-oxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and flavonoids. You might be wondering what these benefits are and why they are so beneficial to your health.
Anti-oxidants: known to boost the immune system and neutralize damage caused by free radicals trying to attack the immune system. Brightly colored foods with rich, deep blues, oranges, reds, greens and yellows are full of these immune booster and disease fighting superheros. Berries are rich in anti-oxidants and blueberries have the highest levels of antioxidants than any other berry.
Phytochemicals or Phytonutrients: these are plant-based nutrient rich foods full of vitamins and minerals, which focus on preventing disease and sickness.
Fiber: the stringy stuff holding our fruits and vegetables together encouraging healthy active digestion, lowers cholesterol and gives you that full feeling without over eating.
Flavonoids: part of the phytonutrient, flavonoids aid the immune system by protecting the cells of the body against environmental pollutants and work with the body to allow for proper functioning. Assisting the body in fighting off infections, flavonoids are responsible for bringing the rich reds, oranges and greens to fruits and vegetables.
As all fruits and vegetables are important in boosting the immune system and protecting the body from infections and disease, I am particularly fond of the berry…especially during the cold and flu season. Lets hear what your powerhouse food of choice is for protecting your immune system…
Resources: www.drsearswellnessinstitute.org, www.livestrong.com