When you get sick with a cold or flu, do you head straight for the orange juice? There’s good reason, as the vitamin C it contains has the potential to lessen symptoms and speed recovery.
But have you stopped to consider that there are other juices that can also provide a healthy boost to your immune system? For instance, serving for serving, both strawberries and kiwis provide more vitamin C than an orange.
All you need is a juicer to provide a variety of good-for-you juices made fresh in your kitchen. Tired of orange juice? Switch it up!
4 Simple DIY Immune-Boosting Juices (That Aren’t OJ!)
1. Carrot juice
Carrot juice contains Vitamins A, B-6, and C; along with potassium. Vitamins A and C are powerful antioxidants that help to regulate immune function, guard against infection, and protect immune cells from free radical damage. Vitamin B-6 plays an important role in the production of the white blood cells and T cells that regulate immune responses.
2. Beet juice
Beetroot juice has numerous health benefits. Containing vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B-9 (folate), beets can help rev up the immune system. Folate contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system, and is a nutrient that our bodies don’t store or manufacture. This means you should try to consume the recommended amount of folate each day.
3. Tomato juice
Tomatoes are highly nutritious. Whether you sip them as a soup or drink them as a juice, you’re getting a host of vitamins and nutrients. Tomatoes are a rich source of lycopene — a carotenoid that, among other functions, stimulates the immune system and acts as an antioxidant. The redder the tomato, the more lycopene it contains. Tomatoes also contain Vitamins A, B-6, B-9 (folate), C, and K; along with potassium and magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral that supports a host of bodily processes, and is an anti-inflammatory.
4. Watermelon juice
Watermelon is another fruit that is rich in both lycopene and B-6, as well as Vitamins A and C. Like tomatoes, it also provides magnesium and potassium. If you’re feeling achy from the flu, these minerals can help relieve muscle soreness. Watermelon is a rich source of the amino acids citrulline and arginine. When citrulline is ingested, it is converted to arginine, which produces nitric oxide. Nitric oxide plays a critical role in healthy immune function.
Mix it Up!
Start with a base of one of the above foods, and then juice any number of additional fruits, veggies, or herbs for an extra immune-boosting punch and/or endless variety of flavors. Apples, cucumber, spinach, or kale are great to add. Other options include:
- Turmeric — A natural antiviral, turmeric is also known for having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial properties. Turmeric can help clear respiratory infections, suppress cough and build overall immunity.
- Ginger — Ginger has long been studied for its ability to boost the immune system. With essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, manganese, and vitamin B-6, ginger exhibits anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
- Lemon — Lemons, like other citrus fruits, are high in vitamin C. A squeeze of lemon is a fresh-tasting and easy way to help increase iron absorption and boost the immune system.
- Parsley — Don’t relegate this herb to just being an afterthought to garnish your plate. Parsley has one of the highest vitamin C levels of any herb. Being antifungal and antibacterial, parsley makes a smart addition to your diet.
- Watercress — Some call watercress the original superfood. It contains high concentrations of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, iron, folate, and sulfur.
So, the next time you start to feel sick, boost your immune system by adding some healthy juices into your rotation. In addition to a balanced whole-food diet and plenty of rest, you’ll equip your body with what it needs to get and stay healthy.
We want to keep you healthy.
…But we’re here if you need us! In and Out Express Care has four urgent care locations in Hampton Roads. We also provide primary care for individuals and families, serving children as young as two years old.
If you’re feeling ill, use our telemedicine option to see a doctor from the comfort of your own home.
And remember…. Drink up!