Having a healthy immune system is one of the best ways to protect your body from getting sick. Our immune systems are designed to naturally help our bodies fight off viruses and bacteria that can make us ill. Incorporating nutrient rich foods and healthy lifestyle behaviors can help you stay ahead of germs.
Studies have shown that a diet rich in vegetables and fruits does in fact boost immune function. Sadly, according to the Center for Disease Control's data, only 12 percent of American adults are consuming enough fruit, and 9 percent are consuming enough vegetables. It is important to fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal to make sure your are eating enough each day. It is also important to make sure you are eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day.
Fruits and vegetables provide important nutrients that help keep us healthy. To get the broadest range of nutrients, all colors are important including purple, blue, white, red, yellow, orange, and green. The pigments in each fruit and vegetable provide important nutrients, called phytonutrients, which help protect us from diseases like cancer, boost our immune system and help protect our skin and eyesight. Eating a diversity of colorful foods can be an easy way to get a complete range of the vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive. Different color fruits and vegetables contain different types of nutrients and vitamins.
Fruits and vegetables are available fresh, canned, frozen, or dried. Nutritionally speaking, they are very similar. If you can't get fresh fruits or vegetables, canned or frozen are good alternatives. When buying fresh fruits and vegetables, buy them when they are in season. They are less expensive and at their peak flavor. When purchasing canned vegetables, look for "low sodium" or "no salt added" on the labels. With canned fruit, look for "100 percent fruit juice" on the label.
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The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture