Do you ever feel a bit under the weather when the seasons change? Maybe you’re feeling tired and run down, which can make you more susceptible to getting sick. This is because your immune system is actually still running while you sleep, producing proteins that are necessary when your immune system has to kick into gear to protect you from bacteria, viruses, and other invaders that cause illness. When you’re sleep-deprived, you may produce less of these protective proteins, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If you’ve noticed your immune system shutting down, there are ways to get it healthy again. Eating a healthy diet that consists of lots of nutrients is one of the ways you can make sure your body fights off any foreign invaders that try to come into your body and get you sick. Fruits are one of the healthy food choices you can make when working on the growth and function of immune cells. According to registered dietitian Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of The NY Nutrition Group and author of The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan, the best fruit to eat for a stronger immune system is a kiwi.
“Although eating just one specific food doesn’t have the power to completely eliminate getting sick, your overall diet and eating habits can help strengthen your immune system and improve recovery time after illness or infection,” explains Moskovitz. “You may have heard that ‘eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ But, there are so many other fruits that deserve the limelight.”
Moskovitz explains that fruits particularly high in vitamin C and other antioxidants may help bolster your immune system. Kiwi is a top option when it comes to this antioxidant vitamin.
“Kiwi fruit is one of the leading sources of vitamin C,” says Moskovitz. In fact, one 1 medium-sized kiwi contains 71% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake, nearly as much as consuming a whole medium-sized orange.
Moskovitz says that vitamin C has long been associated with promoting a healthy, strong immune system. This is due to its ability to support various cellular functions, decrease inflammation and protect against oxidative stress.
There is some evidence that supports a direct link between consuming kiwi and bolstering your immune system. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, which received funding by kiwifruit marketer Zespri, suggests that gold kiwi fruit has helped reduce both the severity and duration of certain upper respiratory tract infection symptoms in healthy older adults. The fruit has also increased plasma vitamin C concentration, which is your total body content of vitamin C.
Overall, while kiwi may be a powerful fruit, it’s still important to eat a well-balanced diet to keep you healthy. If you don’t like kiwi, thankfully there are plenty of other colorful fruit and vegetable options that the National Institutes of Health recommends in order to meet your daily vitamin C value.
For example, one medium orange consists of 78% of your daily vitamin C value, while a half cup of cooked broccoli has 57%. You can also choose to eat a sweet, raw, red pepper, which has 106% of your daily value.
“Ultimately, eating a variety of plant-based and antioxidant-rich foods including fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are the best practice for a better immune system,” says Moskovitz.