My poor little guy is sick with his first ear infection. We finally visited the doctor yesterday and he’s on antibiotics now so I’m hoping he’s on the mend! Winter is rough, especially for little kids. I try hard to keep germs away but I can only do so much. I’ve been thinking a lot about antioxidant-rich foods that I can feed my son to help keep his immune system optimal. We don’t typically spend money on supplements (other than a prenatal for me) because we like to get our nutrients from food. I always prefer spending money on yummy food over a bottle of pills.

It’s easy to tell if supplements provide antioxidants because it’s stated loud and clear on the packaging. Food isn’t always as easy to tell. There are three main vitamins that are antioxidants: Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. Eating a diet rich in these vitamins will help support your body’s defense system. Note that eating them only after you get sick will not always yield miraculous results.

Vitamin C is commonly known as the cold-fighting vitamin. You can buy tons of supplements with mega-doses of vitamin C but you can also get more than enough vitamin C in foods. Most people know that citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple are high in this nutrient. You may be a little more surprised that bell peppers, kale, broccoli, strawberries, and guava are also great sources of Vitamin C.

Vitamin A is needed for vision, skin health, and of course our immune system. I always think of vitamin A as being in orange or dark leafy green veggies. Carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, cantaloupe, and squash are all good sources of this vitamin. To put things in perspective, one cooked sweet potato will provide over 300% of your Daily Value. No reason to pay the big bucks for supplements if you don’t want to.

Vitamin E can be a little more challenging to get than the previous two. This vitamin is found in almonds, olive oil, canola oil, trout and salmon, sunflower seeds, and avocados. I tend to associate vitamin E with oils, although it’s important to note that coconut oil is not a great source of vitamin E since it is mostly saturated fat.

Smoothies are one of my favorite ways to get a ton of fruits and veggies in. I just love experimenting with different flavors, always knowing that my body will thank me for it. We recently bought some frozen pineapple that has just been so heavenly to put in smoothies. This tropical smoothie recipe has become a family favorite. I especially love it during January because it reminds me of summer! It provides over 100% of your vitamin C for the day and 10% of your vitamin A. With the milk and Greek yogurt you’ll also be getting 15 grams of protein. Not too bad for a smoothie that tastes like dessert!

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