The cold and rainy months are the perfect time to research ways to keep ourselves healthy. With the cold and flu season spanning wintertime, it is extremely beneficial to boost our immune system to fight off the bugs, infections and bacteria all around us. With different types of products, vitamins and pills promising to keep you healthy, Dr. Willard’s® wants to help you cut through the clutter and focus on tried and true methods – a diet rich in vegetables that boosts your immunity system.
Which Vegetables are the Best Options for Immune Health?
Although all types of vegetables are good for your health, there are options that are optimal for your immunity. These include:
Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid which is responsible for the pigment of yellow and orange vegetables, and is the main dietary source of Vitamin A (retinol), which keeps our immune system functioning as it should. Although too much Vitamin A can be toxic, the body only converts the amount of beta-carotene it needs to keep us healthy.
In addition to vitamin A, beta-carotene is also a source of antioxidants, a substance whose job it is to fight free radicals, reactive oxygen molecules that damage healthy cells and cause us to get sick.
Broccoli contains a host of vitamins – A, C and E, as well as antioxidants. As we’ve already covered the beneficial properties of vitamin A and antioxidant, let’s focus on what vitamin C and E can offer to boost our immunity.
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a type of antioxidant that may be the most commonly purchased supplement during the cold and flu season for its abilities to keep us well and prevent getting sick. A deficiency of Vitamin C can compromise the ability of the body to resist pathogens that can make us sick, according to a source.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant that protects the T cells’ cell membranes from getting damaged, allowing them to defend the body from viruses.
Garlic has been known for centuries for its ability to ward of infections. It contains a host of healthy properties, such as arginine, oligosaccharides, flavonoids, and selenium. Arginine is an amino acid which is responsible for forming polyamines, molecules which T and B cells need to fight off infections.
Oligosaccharides are carbohydrates which have simple sugars that are joined together, which help immune function. Flavonoids have high concentrations of antioxidants, and keep our immune system young and strong.
Selenium, a trace mineral and an antioxidant which “stimulates the development and function of all types of white blood cells and enhances the ability of lymphocytes and NK cells, or killer cells, to activate and respond to invaders such as bacteria and viruses, including the flu. Selenium works synergistically with Vitamin E, A and C as an antioxidant,” according to a source.
PlantCatalyst® Role in Helping Germination
Red bell peppers, broccoli and garlic are our top three vegetable choices to improve immune function. However, many vegetables that are purchased in grocery stores contain pesticides, growth modifying organisms (GMOs) and other chemicals which can pose problems for our health.
To be sure that you are eating fresh, raw and organic produce, plant it yourself! Now is the perfect time to prepare to germinate seeds. For red bell peppers, start your seeds indoors up to 10 weeks prior to the last expected spring frost date; plant garlic seeds indoors in February and germinate broccoli anytime the soil temperature reaches 40ºF or higher.
Don’t forget to add PlantCatalyst® to your gardening routine to speed growing times and to increasing germination rates and strength out of germination. Our product is made up of all natural ingredients without the harmful toxins that typical agricultural products contain. Plus, when it’s time to plant, PlantCatalyst® can help you cut fertilizer use by up to half, saving you money while producing a more bountiful harvest!