Did you know that 70 percent of our immune system is found in the gut? I’ve talked about it a number of times before, so maybe you have heard it, but it bears repeating – 70 percent! That’s a staggeringly large amount, which just goes to show how much what we put in our mouth matters.
That’s why in today’s post in partnership with Atlantic Superstore, I’m going to be talking about the nutrients you should eat to help promote good immune health, as well as sharing some tasty recipes that incorporate those foods!
Before we get into the specific recipes, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about those individual vitamins and minerals that play a big part in maintaining a healthy immune system.
While it’s important to have a healthy immune system all year round, it’s especially important during cold and flu season.
The top nutrients to consider when trying to keep yourself and your family #Fluless include:
Vitamin C and E have antioxidants important for the maintenance of good health and are found in citrus fruits and seeds/nuts, respectively.
Zinc, which can be found in nuts and seeds, helps maintain immune function.
Vitamin A, found as beta-carotene in orange vegetables like sweet potato and butternut squash, has also been shown to help maintain immune function.
Probiotic foods, like kefir or probiotic yogurt, contain probiotic bacteria, which may modulate immune function. Eating foods that contain probiotics is preferred to taking probiotic supplements because then you also get the other nutrients in the food, like protein and calcium.
Protein, found in meats, eggs, seafood (e.g. salmon, tuna and trout), milk products, legumes, and nuts and seeds, helps build and repair body tissues and antibodies.
The B vitamins, which help to maintain good health, are found in abundance in leafy greens, whole grains, and winter squashes, to name a few.
Another way to ensure your family is getting a wide variety of nutrients is by incorporating lots of different coloured fruits and vegetables into your meals. Adding them to multiple meals throughout the day helps them become accustomed to eating them, and getting kids to help with preparation also improves the chances that they will actually try new foods.
Now that you have a grocery list filled with immune-boosting foods – what on earth are you going to make? I recently had the opportunity to meet with Molly McLaughlin the in-store Registered Dietitian at the New Minas Atlantic Superstore and she shared this delicious Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Quinoa recipe with me and said I could share it with you all.
Fun fact – quinoa is a prebiotic. What’s a prebiotic you might ask? Well to put it very simply, prebiotics act like fertilizer for probiotics which helps increase the good bacteria in your gut which in turn improved immune function. Yahoo!
- 1½ cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1½ cups chicken broth, no salt added
- 1 cup quinoa
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 green onion
- ½ cup goat cheese
- pepper - to taste
- In a saucepan, bring the broth to boil.
- Add sweet potato, quinoa and red onion.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 15 minutes until liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in cheese and green onion and mix.
- Serve warm.
How amazing does this look!? And I promise you it tasted even better than it looks!
If you are looking for some more inspiration for immune boosting meals check out these recipes and products found directly on the PC website:
- Spinach & Meatball Soup with Outer Space Pasta
- Whole Grain Lemon and Raspberry Pancakes. <– these look AMAZING
- Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry
- PC Blue Menu Carrot Mango 100% Vegetable and Fruit Juice Blend <– This juice provides 1 serving of vegetables and 100% of the daily value of vitamins A and C per 250 mL serving. Great for adding to smoothies or serving with those pancakes!
I hope this has given you some ideas on how you can help boost all the immune systems living in your home – and just maybe you’ll find some new foods your family enjoys in the process!
Stay Healthy All Winter
While eating nutrient-rich foods is really important for keeping yourself and your family healthy, the number one thing you can do to ensure you stay healthy all winter long is to get the flu vaccine.
Head to Atlantic Superstore to book an appointment with one of their in-store registered dietitians for more information on foods that help support good overall and immune health, and while you’re there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot.
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Atlantic Superstore, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.