With the weather cooling and more time spent indoors, viruses like the cold and flu are gearing up for their annual season. You can help diminish their spread by washing your hands, staying home when sick, and limiting large social gatherings. But it’s also wise to make sure your immune system is in tip-top shape for combating viruses. To give your immune system a boost, try eating foods for flu season vitamins.
Doctors generally recommend several nutrients for healthy immune systems. Vitamins A, C, and D are all important for your immune system and energy levels. You’ll also want to ensure you’re getting zinc in your diet. And don’t forget about probiotics! Healthy gut bacteria play a significant role in preventing sickness and keeping your body working properly.
Campers and RVers can be especially vulnerable to viruses while traveling. Try incorporating these foods into your diet to get your flu season vitamins!
Fruits and Vegetables
1. Sweet Potatoes and Squash
Sweet potatoes and squash both pack a nutritional punch. You’ll get a hefty dose of fiber, along with enormous amounts of vitamin A. Try making mashed sweet potatoes or butternut squash soup to stay warm.
2. Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. You can eat bell peppers raw and they’re great dipped in hummus. Or try cooking bell peppers in a dish like chicken fajitas.
The dreaded vegetable of youth is one of the healthiest. Broccoli is filled with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and iron. Additionally, broccoli has more protein than most vegetables. Just be careful not to overcook broccoli when steaming. Try roasting broccoli in the oven for the most nutrients.
A tender leafy green, spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. You’ll get all sorts of flu season vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and magnesium. Try using spinach in a salad with berries and nuts!
While mushrooms are technically fungi, most people lump them in with vegetables. Mushrooms are one of the best plant sources of B vitamins. Additionally, mushrooms grown under UV lights are quite high in vitamin D, making them a great source for vegetarians and vegans.
Berries come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Those bright colors come from antioxidants, which help your body fight off disease. You’ll also get fiber, vitamin C, and other nutrients in all types of berries.
Full of fiber and potassium, bananas are nutritional superstars. Try one with a spoonful of peanut butter for a delicious, wholesome snack.
Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds
Lentils are the unsung hero in the world of legumes. They feature large amounts of fiber and protein, along with B vitamins and magnesium. Lentils are also a very good plant source of zinc. Make them in a lentil soup or shepherd’s pie for a hearty meal.
Beans deserve lots of credit. You’ll find lots of protein and fiber, and beans can help keep blood sugar levels stable. Additionally, like other legumes, beans are a very good sauce of zinc, one of the best flu season vitamins. Stew a pot of chili for a winter dish filled with beans.
Almonds are a great choice for a healthy snack. They feature healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They also have quite a bit of vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium, and some zinc.
Walnuts are another great nut to snack on. These tasty treats have healthy omega-3 fats, along with copper, folic acid, and vitamin E. Walnuts have also been linked to brain health.
12. Sunflower Seeds
A great salad topper, sunflower seeds are an excellent source of zinc and vitamin E. Many other minerals like copper, magnesium, and phosphorus can be provided by sunflower seeds. Plus, sunflower seed butter is a great allergen-free alternative to peanut butter.
Meat, Eggs, and Seafood
13. Lean Red Meat
If you’re looking to get B vitamins, zinc, and protein, look no further than lean red meat. You’ll get plenty of those nutrients in here. With red meat, though, aim for lean cuts and eat in moderation. Too much red meat is linked to several diseases.
14. Lean Poultry
Lean poultry is another great source of zinc and B vitamins. You’ll get lots of protein, often with less fat than red meat. Try something like turkey chili or chicken noodle soup to warm up on a cool day.
15. Salmon and Tuna
Zinc and vitamin D are abundant in fatty fish, including salmon and tuna. Salmon is a particularly healthy choice that is also low in mercury. Remember that sustainably- and wild-caught fish are healthier than farm-raised.
Eggs are a great source of protein and egg yolks are also rich in vitamin D. Whip up scrambled eggs for breakfast, or make a frittata filled with eggs and veggies.
17. Cultured Dairy
Don’t forget about probiotics! Healthy bacteria are a good complement to flu season vitamins. You’ll find plenty of good-for-your-gut bacteria in cultured dairy products like yogurt, kefir, and cheese.
18. Sauerkraut and Kimchi
If you love sharp, sour foods, you’ll enjoy the probiotics found in sauerkraut and kimchi. Both fermented cabbage products are excellent for your gut and will keep your body stocked with probiotics.
The trendy tea drink, kombucha, is an excellent source of probiotics. As a plus side, kombucha also contains antioxidants that help boost your immune system.
20. Miso and Tempeh
Rounding out this list are the cultured soy cousins of miso and tempeh. Both are loaded with probiotics that your body will love. Miso is best used in miso soup, while tempeh is great in stir-fries and on salads.
This year, make sure you’re prepared for winter by getting your flu season vitamins. The foods above will help you on your path to a happy, healthy winter. And if you enjoyed the ideas for what to eat, pass this post along to friends and family!