The #1 food to eat to boost your immune system, says dietitian

Autumn is almost here which means the return of sweater weather, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and, unfortunately, cold and flu season. While practicing good hand hygiene, avoiding friends and family members when they’re sick, and avoiding crowds can all help you stay healthy, these aren’t the only ways to protect yourself from ill health in the months ahead.

Adding the right foods to your diet can make a big difference when it comes to: strengthening your immune system and preventing disease. In fact, experts say that a popular food you may already have in your fridge may hold the key to a stronger immune system: kale.

“Kale is a excellent source of vitamin C with 71% of the daily recommended intake per cooked cup. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which help the body fight infection,” explains Kath Younger, RD, founder of Kath Eats.

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According to a review published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung DiseaseIn three studies of subjects under significant physical exertion, vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of developing a cold by 50%, and in another group of three clinical trials, vitamin C supplementation reduced the risk of pneumonia by 80%.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to get this delicious veggie into your regular rotation.

Kale

“Kale is so versatile, you can easily add it to your meals in a variety of ways: fried in eggs, wilted in soups, blended into smoothies, baked like kale chips, and slathered into kale salad,” says Younger. She notes that eating Greek yogurt with live and active cultures is also a great way to boost your immune system, so there’s no time like the present to incorporate a little of this tasty dairy into your diet. yogurt dressings for those kale salads, your kale-enriched smoothies, or as a creamy topping for your kale soups.

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