#FlattenTheCurve: 5 Immunity-Boosting Antioxidants To Help Avoid Flu

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Antioxidants can effectively and naturally boost the body’s immune system against infections and viruses amidst COVID-19.

In a world where maintaining individual health to #FlattenTheCurve is increasingly important, antioxidants are an effective immunity-boosting solution.

Antioxidants can be obtained simply by regularly eating the right foods.

This winter, consider increasing your intake of vegetables, nuts, some red meat and even dark chocolate.

So What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are chemical compounds that protect cells against damage due to oxygen caused by free radicals.

While free radicals weaken and break down healthy cells, antioxidants help protect the body against them and curb illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes cancer, as well as viruses including COVID-19.

These antioxidants help strengthen the body, supporting and maintaining your health during the pandemic by boosting immunity.

Bowls of fruit and vegetables on table
Antioxidants can help strengthen the body, supporting and maintaining your health during the pandemic by boosting immunity.

Zinc

A popular antioxidant for the common cold, Zinc keeps the immune system strong and fights infections, supports growth and helps to heal wounds by repairing body tissues.

A medical journal article from Cochrane revealed that administering the antioxidant within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms reduces the duration and severity of the common cold.

Delicious dishes that are high in Zinc include: 

Here are some individual ingredients high in Zinc:

  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Shellfish
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Sesame seeds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Lentils

Zinc deficiency can cause someone to become more vulnerable to disease and illness. In children, a deficiency can even result in growth impediments.

Lentil salad in black bowl on table
Meals such as Balsamic Lentil Salad are rich in Zinc, an antioxidant that keeps the immune system strong and fights infections.

Glutathione

Known as the master of all antioxidants, glutathione is a powerful antioxidant found in plants, animals, fungi and some bacteria.

Apart from boosting immunity, the right levels of glutathione can reduce oxidative stress (decreasing the chances of cancer and disease), improve psoriasis, reduce cell damage and fight autoimmune disease.

Meals that incorporate glutathione include: 

Individual ingredients that are high in glutathione include:

  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Avocados
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cucumbers

According to Healthline, glutathione levels in the body decrease as a result of aging, stress, environmental toxins and poor nutrition.

Sauteed brussel sprouts on white plate
Sautéed brussel sprouts are rich in glutathione, which help to boost immunity with regular consumption.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the immune system and carries many health benefits.

Vitamin C helps stimulate the immune system, helping fight infectious disease, viruses, bacteria and foreign invaders.

Delicious meals that incorporate Vitamin C include:

Ingredients that are high in Vitamin C include: 

  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Tangerines

The body does not produce Vitamin C on its own, and so needs a daily intake from food.

Punnet of strawberries on table and in woven basket
Vitamin C, found in food such as strawberries, helps stimulate the immune system to fight infectious disease and viruses.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant that boosts overall immunity by helping the body fight off infection and repair damaged cells.

“Many scientific studies show people who consume lots of foods that are rich in vitamin E have better health, including lower rates of heart disease, strokes, several cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease,” says Dr Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D, Professor of Medicine and editor-in-chief of the Harvard Health Letter.

Delicious dishes that incorporate Vitamin E include: 

Foods that are are high in Vitamin E include:

  • Hazelnuts
  • Spinach
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seed
  • Mango
  • Tofu
  • Tomatoes 
  • Eggs

Low Vitamin E levels can lead to red blood cell breakage as well as nerve damage.

Crispy baked tofu and rice with chopsticks in white bowl
Crispy baked tofu is rich with Vitamin E, which boosts overall immunity by repairing damaged cells.

Quercetin

A strong antioxidant that helps the body fight inflammation, quercetin is a natural plant pigment that is found in many vegetables, fruits and grains and gives many fruit, flowers and vegetables their colours.

Quercetin reduces the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, eases allergy symptoms, fights cancer, reduces the risk of chronic brain disorders and reduces blood pressure.

Tasty meals that that contain quercetin include: 

Boost immunity by adding quercetin to a diet using:

  • Peppers – yellow, green
  • Cherries
  • Cilantro
  • Onions – red, white
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Green tea
Green tea in white teacup
Green tea is rich in quercetin, a strong antioxidant that helps the body fight inflammation.

To find out which ingredients can help boost immunity naturally, read our story here.

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Deborah Davis

CONTRIBUTOR

Deborah's perfect night in consists of watching reruns of Friends while getting a mani or pedi done. When she's not writing or researching the latest in beauty and health, you can find her at her piano or sipping a cup of cappuccino.

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