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Boost Your Immunity with Blueberries & Red Grapes

Blueberries show promise in boosting immunity.

Blueberries show promise in boosting immunity.

As Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This is good advice to follow when it comes to not only treating disease, but preventing it as well. Good nutrition helps boost your immune system and some foods do a better job of it than others. This especially rings true for blueberries and red grapes as researchers from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University discovered while reviewing several compounds for a study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

As explained by Science Daily in its review of the study,  resveratrol, which is found in grapes, and pterostilbene, which is found in blueberries, are two compounds that worked in conjunction with Vitamin D to help express the CAMP gene, which is a major player in immune function. However, the research showed it worked in lab cell cultures, not necessarily nutritionally. So, the jury is still out as to whether these two fruits really boost immunity when eaten, but the initial findings are very promising.

Regardless, these fruits have been touted by nutritionists and herbalists for years as being powerhouses of nutrition full of health benefits. Blueberries and grapes are super high in antioxidants and vitamin C. Antioxidants help fight free radicals in your body and may help ward off heart disease, cancer, and more. Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant and a vitamin vital to tissue repair and growth, is not made by the body and is excreted through the urine, so it’s important that you take in what you need through fresh, whole foods. Plus, one cup of blueberries is less than 100 calories and provides 14% of your daily fiber needs as noted in this Web MD article.

Knowing all of these benefits, why not incorporate blueberries and red grapes into your diet? They may potentially work especially well when adequate levels of Vitamin D are present as the research suggests, so a perfect way to enjoy them would be with something high in Vitamin D, such as milk or fortified yogurt. (Yogurt does not contain Vitamin D unless it has been added, so check the label. One organic manufacturer that adds it in the form of Vitamin D3, which is more easily absorbed, is Stonyfield Farm.)

Try making this healthy and nutritious dish for breakfast or a snack to boost your immunity!

Immune-Boosting Yogurt Bowl With Fresh Fruits & Granola

  • 1 serving of plain organic yogurt fortified with Vitamin D
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup of blueberries
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup of organic red grapes, sliced in half
  • 1 tsp of raw honey
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • Optional: nuts, other fruits of your choice: (e.g., mangoes, peaches, apricots, nectarines, watermelon)

Directions: First, wash all fruits well to remove any pesticides or molds. Then simply mix some raw honey into a cup of yogurt and top with the fresh fruit, nuts, and granola. In addition to the immune-boosting benefits of the blueberries and red grapes, this healthy dish is full of antioxidants, vitamins, and other goodies that support your immune system.

Did you know?

    • Yogurt helps your immune system by providing probiotics to replenish the “good” bacteria essential for healthy immune functioning in the gut.
    • The propolis in raw honey, which is a product of bee secretions and plant resins, helps fight infections due to its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
    • Nuts provide Vitamin E and zinc, both of which are essential to immune system functioning. Brazil nuts in particular provide selenium, which is an important trace mineral for warding off disease.
    • Fruits high in beta carotene and other carotenoids, such as peaches and apricots, are essential for healthy immune functioning.
    • Oats, which are found in granola, contain beta glucans. Beta glucans are sugars sometimes used as medicine to help boost the immunity of those in weakened physical states, such as from the common cold or even cancer, as noted in this Web MD article.  
    • Oats contain soluble fiber which has been shown to cut the recovery time of mice with bacterial infections in half according to this article from Eating Well.com.

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Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2013 – 2014. All rights reserved.
Photos © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2013 – 2014.

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