The arrival of fall may bring on the emergence of all things pumpkin and spice, but research shows the cooler temperatures are also associated with an increased risk of infections (Eccles et al. 2015). Eating healthy can keep your immune system functioning at its best.*
Most immune supporting foods have antioxidant properties. Remember antioxidants can be your immune system’s best friend by helping fight back against disease causing and illness driving free radicals. Everyone has free radicals in their body as they are inevitable and caused by many factors (both controllable and not controllable) such as pollution in the environment, smoking and even just the body’s process of breaking down foods. Antioxidants fight back against these free radicals by neutralizing them so they cannot go down the path of creating illness and disease. Here are 5 fall foods to help boost your immune system.
Pomegranate is an ancient fruit associated with numerous health benefits. Rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, nearly every part of the pomegranate has antiviral and antimicrobial properties which can help our bodies maintain a strong immune response against foreign invaders such as viruses and bacteria. Pomegranates are considered one the healthiest fruits!
Orange-colored fruits and vegetables, like butternut squash, are full of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that helps protect your immune system from harmful substances like free-radicals (Hughes 1999).
Apples contain a wide range of phytochemicals –plant compounds that are linked to health benefits – such as carotenoids and flavonoids (Boyer et al 2004). Studies have shown links between diets rich in carotenoids and reduced incidence of disease (Hughes 1999). Apples are also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C as well as soluble fiber (specifically pectin) which helps change pro-inflammatory cells to anti-inflammatory cells that help you recover faster from infection (Sherry et al 2010).
The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower can help the body communicate when launching our immune response. Cauliflower is also packed with vitamin C which helps support a healthy immune system due to its antioxidant activity (Ahmed et al 2013).
Cranberries are substantial source of strong antioxidants. These antioxidants work together to fight against inflammation by neutralizing illness causing free radicals. In fact, the biggest benefit of cranberries is their ability to rid the body of infection (Wanjek et al 2013)!
Did you know you can find recipes with these ingredients on the Nutrition tab in the d.velop™ App? The recipes are packed with immune supporting nutrients and personalized to your dietary needs. Tap the Strawberry icon to check them out.
Erin McNamara, RDN, LDN, CLT
Eccles R, Wilkinson JE. Exposure to cold and acute upper respiratory tract infection. Rhinology journal. 2015;53(2):99-106. doi:10.4193/rhin14.239
Ahmed FA, Ali RF. Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of fresh and processed white cauliflower. BioMed Research International. 2013;2013:1-9. doi:10.1155/2013/367819
Boyer J, Liu RH. Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits. Nutrition Journal. 2004;3(1). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-5
Hughes DA. Effects of carotenoids on human immune function. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 1999;58(3):713-718. doi:10.1017/s0029665199000932
Sherry CL, et al. Sickness behavior induced by endotoxin can be mitigated by the dietary soluble fiber, pectin, through up-regulation of IL-4 and TH2 polarization. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2010;24(4):631-640. Doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2010.01.015
Wanjek C. How cranberries stop bacteria in their tracks. LiveScience. https://www.livescience.com/38341-cranberries-urinary-tract-infection-bacteria.html. Published July 22, 2013. Accessed September 17, 2021.