Monday, February 11, 2013

Fruits to Keep Sickness at Bay (Guest Post)

Fruits to Keep Sickness at Bay

Illness can strike at any time of year, whether it be a cold or something more serious. The key to staying healthy, along with avoiding bacteria and viruses, is stopping these attacks before they have a chance to take hold. That's where a healthy immune system comes in.

Keeping your immune system strong requires a balanced lifestyle including regular exercise, hand washing, vitamin intake, and sleep. Possibly the most important piece of the puzzle is vitamin intake, which can come largely in the form of immune-boosting fruits.

Some vitamins are more crucial than others. Vitamin C is especially important, as are vitamins E, A and B6. It's also important to get lots of vitamin D, which can often be found in orange juice. Other nutrients that help our immune systems include beta-carotene, zinc and selenium. Many of these can be found in a wide array of fruits. Here are a few that can help you stay healthy, whatever the season.

1. Kiwi
Kiwi carries tons of vitamin C and few calories. A couple of medium kiwis include about 90 calories but 240 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin C. That's way more than you'll find in the equivalent amount of oranges. Plus, they're available year-round: the California crop from November through May and the New Zealand crop from June through October. And it has its own great, unique taste.

2. Mangoes
Vitamin C. Vitamin E. Vitamin B6. Beta-carotene. Mangoes come packed with almost everything. A one-cup serving carries 100 calories and 35 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 80 percent of a woman's RDA of vitamin C and 66 percent of a man's RDA of vitamin C. They also contain vitamin B-2, folate and vitamin K. They grow in the tropics and they're available in the United States year-round.

3. Oranges and Tangerines
No surprise, they're great for vitamin C. A single medium orange carries 138 percent of the RDA of vitamin C. A single tangerine (or Clementine) provides 60 percent. An orange only has about 80 calories yet packs 250 mg of potassium. And you can eat them plain or drink them as a juice.

4. Berries
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries: Any kind of berry is high in vitamin C and vitamin E. Blueberries have lots of vitamin A, which is involved in the production of the antibodies that fight off infections. Plus, they can be stored and frozen easily.

5. Grapefruit
Like oranges and tangerines, grapefruit provide oodles of immune-boosting vitamin C. It only takes half a grapefruit to get 100 percent the RDA of vitamin C. And that comes with only 60 calories. Like oranges, grapefruit are great either plain or made into a juice (if you eat it plain, make sure to drink to juice you leave behind).

6. Strawberries
When it comes to vitamin C, strawberries beat even oranges and tangerines. Eight medium strawberries provide 160 percent of the RDA of vitamin C at a slightly smaller calorie count than the oranges.

7. Cantaloupe
This melon comes with both vitamin A and vitamin C. A single serving of cantaloupe provides 120 percent of the RDA of vitamin A and 80 percent of the RDA of vitamin C. That's a quarter of a melon, which has only about 50 calories.

8. Papaya
This abundant tropical fruit is rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, and beta-carotene. And it's high in fiber, calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. One cup of cubed papaya contains just 55 calories yet covers 144 percent of the RDA of vitamin C, 31 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, 10 percent of the RDA of potassium and 13 percent of the RDA of folate.

And that's just to name a few. Keeping sickness away is largely about making good choices, and you can't make better choices than these health-enhancing fruits. With tons of immunity-boosting vitamins and nutrients, they can go a long way toward keeping sickness at bay.

About the Guest Post Author:  Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

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