The pumpkin spice lattes are flowing and sweaters are making their way out from the back of the closet which are sure signs fall is here. We love this time of year when the leaves and the weather start to change, but it also signals the start of cold and flu season. It would be wonderful if there was a magic food we could eat to stay healthy, but nothing guarantees we’re safe from getting sick. But these fall favorites are full of nutrients to help keep your immune system strong, so dig in.
Orange juice - Oranges are at their freshest in late fall and they’re loaded with vitamin C, which strengthens our immune systems. An eight-ounce glass of OJ packs more than 100% of your daily dose of vitamin C, along with many carotenoids - like beta carotene - which help form vitamin A, another important nutrient for immunity.
Pomegranate - Practically every part of the pomegranate plant is thought to be antimicrobial, which means this seasonal fruit may prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses. It’s also full of immune-supporting nutrients, including vitamin C.
Garlic - We enjoy it year-round, but garlic is typically harvested in September and it contains a compound called allicin that’s been shown to support the immune system.
Sweet potato - Their rich orange color is due to all that beta carotene, a natural antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in the body. Low levels of it are linked to a compromised immune system, so load up on sweet potatoes in the fall.
Cranberries - The sweet-tart flavor of cranberry is tasty, but the fruit also contains polyphenols that may support immune health. Compounds found in cranberry juice have even been shown to prevent influenza from infecting the body.
Pumpkin - Aside from serving as festive front porch decorations, these gourds are also loaded with immune-supporting nutrients including vitamins A and C.