During the Coronavirus pandemic, CNBC interviewed a doctor and dietitian to find out what foods they recommend people stock up on to help build a stronger immune system. Here’s what they recommended you add to your shopping lists:
1. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers reign supreme when it comes to fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup of chopped red bell peppers contains about 211% of your daily value of vitamin C. That’s about twice more than an orange (106%).
“Broccoli is packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants that support our immune system,” says Dr. Seema Sarin, an internal medicine physician at EHE Health. It also contains vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help fight off bacteria and viruses.
“Chickpeas are also packed with zinc, which helps the immune system control and regulate immune responses,” said Emily Wunder, a dietitian and founder of the nutritious recipes site Healthier Taste.
Half a cup of strawberries can give you 50% of your Vitamin C needs for the day. “Vitamin C is great for strengthening your immune system,” Wunder said.
“Not only is garlic full of flavor, but it’s packed with health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of heart disease,” according to Sarin. “Garlic’s immunity-boosting abilities come from its heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, which can help fight off some infections.”
“While sun exposure is the best source of vitamin D, it can also be provided by some foods, including mushrooms,” says Wunder. Vitamin D can help enhance the absorption of calcium, which is good for bone health, and may also protect against some cancers and respiratory diseases.
“Spinach is rich in vitamin C and full of antioxidants that help shield our immune cells from environmental damage,” says Sarin. “Plus, it has beta carotene, which is the main dietary source of vitamin A — an essential component of proper immune function.”
“Yogurt is a great source of probiotics, which are good bacteria that can help promote a healthy gut and immune system,” says Sarin. Recent studies have also found probiotics to be effective for fighting the common cold and influenza-like respiratory infections.
9. Sunflower Seeds
“Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, which works as an antioxidant and helps boosts the immune system,” says Wunder.