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Try Immune-Boosting Foods at Retirement Communities in Pittsburgh PA

Using nutrition to rev up your immune system this cold and flu season

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Winter colds, the flu, and other viruses are here for the season. Many of us will get our flu shot and COVID-19 boosters in order to help us fight off illness this winter. While this strategy is the most effective (as well as cleaning, proper handwashing, and social distancing), another less conventional way to boost your immune system is through healthy foods!

Balanced and nutritious meals are a staple for our residents at The Haven at North Hills Senior Residence, and we pride ourselves on the fact that they are very tasty too! For those looking for an added immunity boost this winter, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most effective vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to incorporate into your meals. See our surprising and delicious list for some nutrition inspiration!

Beta-Carotene

Found primarily in plant foods, beta-carotene is an antioxidant that has heart-healthy benefits and protects you from free radicals. Famously found in orange foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, and tomatoes, other foods rich in this antioxidant are broccoli and leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens–to name just a few!

Looking for a recipe to try this winter? Dig into some soul food with this delicious and healthier collard greens recipe which swaps out bacon and ham for garlic and lemon. Getting creative with traditional recipes can always be a challenge, but we think this recipe is an excellent healthy spin on a classic.

Vitamin D

Often forgotten as an important immune booster, Vitamin D is incredibly beneficial for your physical and mental health. Not only does it help improve your mood and reduce seasonal depression, it works symbiotically with calcium by helping your body absorb and retain more calcium as well as phosphorus. Both of which are vital for bone strength.

But what about immunity? Vitamin D can reduce inflammation, and has also been proven in lab studies as being effective at controlling infections. Find some of this vital vitamin in healthy fat foods like salmon, beef liver, herring, fortified dairy products, and egg yolks. The bonus with a lot of these foods is that they are also a fantastic source of protein, which is also an excellent immunity booster. Delicious and nutritious indeed!

Zinc

Not just a handy sunscreen, zinc is a mineral that is naturally found within your body and supports wound healing, your immune system, and is a helpful metabolism booster. Studies show that zinc lozenges or syrup can also shorten the length of a cold if taken within 24 hours of the start of symptoms.

Lucky for you, with a balanced diet, it can be very easy to get enough zinc for your body to utilize to its fullest. Some popular foods rich in zinc are red meat, shellfish, legumes, quinoa and everyone’s favorite – dark chocolate! Check out this quick and easy dark chocolate quinoa crisps recipe which offers double sources of zinc!

Here at The Haven at North Hills Senior Residence, we love supporting your loved ones with healthy and delectable meals. We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy this winter, and get to experiment with some of these tasty suggestions!

If you are interested in learning more about our retirement communities in Pittsburgh, PA, give us a call!

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