Now that fall is here and winter is fast approaching, it’s time to take a closer look at your immunity. Keeping your immune system in good shape moving into the colder months will help protect you from colds, flus and other viruses that threaten your health.
While there are lots of ways to bolster your immune system, from herbal supplements to lifestyle choices and exercise, one extra way to infuse your body with immunity-boosting ingredients is by making healthy smoothies! Blending up a quick smoothie in the morning or after a workout can ensure you’re getting a range of nutrients that both optimize your immune system and keep your body healthy.
The ingredients you choose for your immunity-enhancing smoothie should contain a few key nutrients. Vitamin C is one of the most important. This vitamin is a natural antioxidant and stimulates the body’s white blood cells that protect you against pathogens. Vitamin A is also an important micronutrient that plays a role in the development of the immune system and regulates its responses. Vitamin E, meanwhile, has been shown to protect immune cells from damage caused by free radicals.
If you’re looking for some inspiration, consider making your own blend of these eight immunity-boosting smoothie ingredients.
- Berries: Berries are some of the most popular superfoods because of their versatility and nutritional composition. Berries are loaded with antioxidants. For your immunity-enhancing smoothie, make blueberries, acai berries, blackberries or strawberries your main ingredient—or create a berry blend including all of them!
- Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits, are also rich in vitamin C, in addition to other beneficial compounds like B vitamins, fiber, potassium and magnesium. They also make delicious smoothie ingredients! Because of their powerful flavor, citrus fruits can be used to overpower less-desirable flavors from other ingredients you add.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is most often used as a spice in Indian dishes, but the root can also make a wonderful addition to a fruit smoothie! Turmeric’s active and abundant ingredient, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that can have beneficial effects on your entire body, including your immune system. Turmeric can add a distinct taste to your smoothie, so try blending it with strong fruits like mango or oranges.
- Matcha powder: Matcha, made of finely ground green tea leaves, provides many of the same benefits that green tea does when added to foods and drinks! Not only is green tea rich in polyphenols, which reduces inflammation, but it’s also loaded with antioxidants that can keep your immune system healthy in the short term and potentially reduce your risk for serious disease in the long term.
- Leafy greens: Leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach are full of vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as antioxidants and flavonoids. Each of these compounds play a large role in regulating the immune system, minimizing free radicals in the body and reducing harmful inflammation. Green vegetables can be added to a fruit smoothie for the sweetness or blended with other vegetables to create your own at-home green juice.
- Honey: Too much sugar is bad for your health—particularly your colon, since excess sugar can interrupt your microbial balance. To sweeten your smoothies a little, you might want to add honey. While honey is still high in sugar, it’s better than refined sugar and it contains helpful compounds like antioxidants! Try to find a localized raw honey to maintain the most of its healthy attributes.
- Chia seeds: If you like a little texture in your smoothies, adding chia seeds can infuse your drink with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3s play an important role in inflammation regulation and can support your immune cells for healthier system response.
- Greek yogurt: Yogurt containing live probiotic cultures makes a great base for an immunity-boosting smoothie. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help balance the microbiota in your colon. Because gut health is closely linked to immunity, taking good care of your intestinal flora can strengthen your immunity, among other total-body benefits.
Make smoothies a part of your wellness routine
Some of the best ways to get nutritional compounds that bolster your health are from eating whole foods, which makes smoothies a great way to care for your immune system! Mix and match your favorite ingredients to find an immunity-boosting smoothie that you love.