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Which Foods Support Immunity and Mood

Image of fruits and a chalkboard with Vitamin C written on it

Answer: Whole foods with vitamin C

When it comes to vitamin C, certain fruits get all the glory (looking at you citrus). But did you know that vitamin C is one of the most prevalent nutrients, found in pineapple, potatoes, peppers, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries even cabbage?

With viruses prevalent and cold and flu season upon us, the more varied sources of vitamin C in our diet, the better! Not only does it support the immune system, helping to fend off illness before it starts. One study from the University of Otago found that participants who got vitamin C as part of their diet (through whole foods such as Kiwi) showed significantly improved mood and decreased fat intake during a two-week intervention as compared to those who took a supplement. BONUS: Feelings of wellbeing continued even after participants stopped eating daily vitamin C rich fruits. The synergistic effect of food strikes again!

Why not keep things interesting by adding seasonal cold winter plants like cabbage to your meal plan? “If you’re not in the habit of purchasing whole or shredded cabbage, that doesn’t mean you don’t eat it. You may not realize how frequently it’s used as an ingredient in Chinese takeout, homemade stir fry mixes, slaws and even salad mixes! Not to mention fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi.” says Melanie Marcus, Dole’s Registered Dietitian and Nutrition and Health Communications Manager.

Cabbage appears to have a similar round shape to other heads of lettuce like iceberg, but it’s heartier and has much thicker leaves that can stand up to heat, which makes it a great option for sauteing and grilling. Just one cup has 25 calories and 50% of the daily value of vitamin C! An easy way to get cabbage to the center of your plate is to cut it into thick slices or wedges, drizzle with olive oil and cook on the grill. Top with your favorite vinaigrette to make a warm, savory and satisfying winter salad. Another favorite is our Instant Pot Cabbage Soup, it does double duty serving up flavorful vitamin C-rich foods that are sure to warm up your cold winter days!.

Published January 1, 2023

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