They’re on your phone, on the walls and even in places you may not even realize. What are they? Germs! As the school year starts again, we must be mindful of the germs and bacteria to come. You may be thinking, “I wash my hands everyday” or “I make sure to always use hand sanitizer.” But sometimes even taking these precautions isn’t good enough. So, what else can we do to prevent sickness from these germs?
One of the best ways to boost your immune system is having a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E, Carotenoids, and Bioflavonoids. Fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors such as berries and greens have the highest antioxidants concentration. To be even more specific Vitamin C can come from berries, broccoli, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, red green or yellow peppers. Vitamin E can come from avocado, spinach, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds. These other foods are also rich in antioxidants: onions, apples, raisins, beans, red grapes and eggplant.
Antioxidants help fight off free radicals. Free radicals are oxidative stress which in turn can cause health problems. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals to antioxidants. So, when your doctor tells you or your kids to eat your vegetables…now you know why! Make sure you diet is filled with fruits and vegetables with every meal of the day. This includes snacks to!
You may be asking…how can I get in 8-12 servings of veggies in a day? Well for one, smoothies in the morning can be the best way to start the day off with 3-4 servings. Try this recipe: 1 cup almond milk, ½ cup blueberries, ½ cup strawberries, 1 cup spinach, 1 sliced banana, ¼ cup Greek vanilla yogurt and 1 scoop of protein powder. When packing lunches, fun and creative ways to add in fruits or veggies is to pair them with a dipping sauce. For instance, carrots and hummus, celery with peanut butter, sliced apples or sliced pears with yogurt. This makes it more fun to dip and have extra flavor so you know your kids will be sure to get their veggies in and yourself! Additionally, adding in lettuce, spinach, tomato, bell peppers or cucumbers to sandwiches will also increase your servings.
Another tip is to always try to choose organic if possible. Most often vegetables or fruits such as apples, bananas, strawberries, spinach, nectarines, peaches, pears, cherries and grapes will be the fruits with the highest pesticides sprayed on them. Organic should be you first choice anyways so you can avoid any GMO’s, herbicides or preservatives. Your body cannot naturally process these harsh chemicals.
Whether you’re reading this for yourself or for your child, the importance of antioxidants is very high. Be sure to always include fruits and vegetables in you and your family’s diet on a regular basis. It’s essential for you mind, health and even skin. Lastly, Red wine and chocolate contain a potent antioxidant called Resveratrol. So, the next time you sit down to have a glass of red wine and a piece of dark chocolate, no guilt is necessary.