As we prepare to reengage with the outside world again, a topic that is top-of-mind is immunity. What steps can we take to build a stronger immune system through food?
One of my favorite ways to think about how to boost your immunity is through a compound in food called phytonutrients. What are they and what do they help us do?
Phytonutrients have a prolific number of positive health benefits. They assist in removing toxins, supporting immunity, and improving heart health. Phytonutrient compounds are part of what gives food it’s color. We commonly group these powerful food compounds into 5 color categories: green, yellow/orange, red, blue/purple, and white/brown.
A great baseline goal which can give your body a good number of phytonutrients is to eat a food from each color every day. Here are some examples of foods to pick from. Remember our best sources are typically fruits and veggies, however other natural sources include whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, and seeds.
– Spinach, kale, arugula, chard, green bell peppers, chives, asparagus, limes, peas, avocado, broccoli, zucchini
– Banana, orange, yellow/orange bell pepper, yellow squash, carrots, pumpkin, squash, cantaloupe, mango, sweet potato, corn
– Strawberries, raspberries, red bell pepper, tomato, grapefruit, cherries, rhubarb, watermelon, beans, beets
Blue and Purple:
– Blueberries, blackberries, plums, eggplant, grapes, figs, purple potatoes, raisins, black rice, purple kale
White and Brown:
– Cauliflower, jicama, mushrooms, garlic, onion, coconut, ginger, apples, seeds, nuts, legumes, pears
PRO Tips: add a variety of color to stir-fry meals, casseroles, or shakes/smoothies! Tea can also be a great way to incorporate color easily.
By Erika DeRooy, PRO Medical Dietitian Services Manager and Registered Dietitian
PRO Medical’s Registered Dietitians provide personalized meal plans and education to support you in making realistic lifestyle changes and in achieving your individual goals. We have experts in a variety of areas and provide support for adults, pediatrics and families.
For healthy recipes that you can use, view our recipes here.