Winter is in full swing, meaning the sound of sniffles and coughs become a part of everyday sounds. If there was a way you could avoid that pesky common cold, would you do it?

One of the most important defenses to prevent illness and colds is making sure your immune system is armed to fight off infection. Luckily, the foods we choose to eat can aid in our immune response to fight off bugs. The key is loading up on foods high in antioxidants, which support healthy immune function. Antioxidants work in the body to protect against free radicals (which are often the culprit of cellular damage in the body), repair DNA, and boost immune function to provide the most effective protection.

Some of the most powerful antioxidants include:

  • Vitamin E – found in nuts, oils, and leafy green vegetables
  • Vitamin C – found in red and orange fruits and vegetables, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
  • Carotenoids – orange, red, yellow, and dark green fruits and vegetables
  • Glutathione – asparagus, avocado, and parsley
  • Polyphenols – berries, grapes, greens, cocoa, tea, and wine
  • Selenium – brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry, brown rice, and sunflower seeds
  • Zinc – red meats, seeds, nuts, spinach

Including a variety of foods and antioxidants will provide the most protection this winter season. Make sure to include a variety of fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts/seeds, and lean proteins in your daily food choices to support your immune function and defend against the winter bug.

For a recipe packed with antioxidants, check out this Broccoli, Grape, and Walnut Salad