When most people think about increasing their immunity, they think about doing so in the winter. After all, that’s when we get colds and flus and other bugs, right? While this idea may have some merit, it’s smart to nourish our immune systems in the summer as well. That way, if we do catch something, our bodies will be primed and ready to attack and conquer it at any time of year. Plus, some of the best summer foods can help boost immunity! Here are four you’ll want to enjoy every day.
Between oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, clementines and the seemingly endless varieties of each, there is a citrus fruit for every palate. These juicy snacks are a top source of vitamin C, which the body can’t make on its own but plays a key role in maintaining high levels of white blood cells, the first-line fighters of infection. There are also countless ways to enjoy these fruits: By the slice, in a salad, in baked goods or even juiced. And don’t forget lemons and limes—while you might not want to eat them whole, you can add their juice to water to make it instantly more refreshing on hot summer days.
Did you know that 70% of your immune system resides in your gut? To keep your gut healthy you need probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that maintain balance in your microbiome and keep all your bodily processes running smoothly, including your immune system. Cool, creamy yogurt is brimming with probiotics and the frozen variety can be the perfect summer treat. Just make sure you’re choosing pops or yogurt that contain live and active cultures, or make your own frozen yogurt using your favorite regular brand.
While water can be the ultimate thirst-quencher after a tough workout, some days we crave something with a little more excitement. Enter iced tea, which offers that flavor and pizazz sans any added sugar or artificial sweeteners. What’s more, both green and black teas are loaded with powerful antioxidants that can enhance immune function and help your body fight germs. Add a squeeze of lemon to sweeten, and you’ll be getting double the immune-boosting power!
We tend to crave light, fresh foods during the summer, and the plethora of fresh veggies available makes it easy to enjoy them. If you have a hankering for a healthy snack, pull out some raw bell pepper slices, broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes or snap peas. These raw veggies are high in vitamin C (some have even more than citrus fruits) to strengthen white blood cells, plus they contain fiber that will nourish your good gut bacteria. Bonus points if you dunk them in a yogurt-based dip!