Maintaining a healthy diet can strengthen your body’s ability to fight viruses. Essential micronutrients include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and the minerals iron, selenium, and zinc. Check out some of our favorite vitamin and nutrient-rich veggies you can grow at home! Stay healthy!
Red Bell Peppers
Most people think citrus when they think of vitamin C, but sweet red bell peppers actually contain more Vitamin C than any other food! One cup of chopped red bell peppers contains about 211% of your daily value of vitamin C. That’s twice more than an orange (106%). Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting a variety of cell functions and can lower the risk of respiratory infections.
Broccoli is also rich in Vitamin C! Just half a cup contains 43% of your daily value. Broccoli is packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that support the immune system. It also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help fight off bacteria and viruses.
Tip: To get the most out of this powerhouse veggie, eat it raw or just slightly cooked.
Garlic is packed with health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of heart disease. Garlic’s immune-boosting abilities come from its heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, which can help fight off infections. Garlic has been shown to help ward off the common cold.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C and full of antioxidants that help shield our immune cells from environmental damage. Plus, it has beta carotene, the main dietary source of vitamin A. One half cup of spinach has 33% of your daily value of folate, which helps new tissues and proteins form.
Tip: Like broccoli, it’s best to consume spinach raw or slightly cooked. To incorporate more spinach into your diet, try blending it in a smoothie for breakfast or lightly sautéing with garlic for a side dish.
Vitamin A plays a key role in immunity, reproductive behaviors and vision. The highest concentration of vitamin A is found in sweet potatoes. One medium-sized baked sweet potato contains more than 561% of your recommended daily value! Additionally, one medium-sized baked sweet potato contains nearly 700 mg of potassium. Potassium is an essential electrolyte, needed to control the electrical activity of the heart. It is also used to build proteins and muscle, and to break down carbohydrates into energy.
Vitamin K is a crucial ingredient in coagulation, or blood clotting. Green, leafy vegetables, like kale, are the best source of Vitamin K.
Tomatoes are the best-known source of lycopene. This chemical pigment, found in red fruits and vegetables, has antioxidant properties. Some studies suggest that lycopene may help guard against a range of ailments, including heart disease and several different types of cancer.