The Vitamin C-Packed Food You Should Be Eating Right Now For Gut Health And Immunity
Now that we’re in the thick of cold and flu season, you may be trying everything to keep your immune system healthy. As it turns out, one of the best things you can do to stay protected from viruses is maintain a healthy diet that promotes better immunity. And while there are tons of great nutrients that can help in that area, upping your Vitamin C intake is always a great idea. In fact, Vitamin C isn’t only great for immunity, but can also help keep your gut health in check. Luckily, there are tons of great Vitamin C-rich foods that you can add to a range of delicious meals—all while nourishing your body.
To get the low-down on all the upsides to Vitamin C and discover one of the best ingredients to add to your plate for your daily dose, we spoke to Lisa Richards, nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet. She told us all about how this powerful vitamin can help boost immunity and gut health, and pointed out bell peppers as one of her favorite Vitamin C-rich foods. Read on to learn more, including how to prepare bell peppers to ensure the most benefits!
While the first vitamin C-packed foods that pop into your head may include orange and other citrus foods, it's important that we don't forget about all the other great options out there—including delicious bell peppers. "Bell peppers are a surprisingly high source of vitamin C," Richards tells us. That makes them a great food that can help support a healthier gut and immune system this winter.
"Certain nutrients are necessary for immune health and vitamin C is well-known for being the king of these nutrients," Richards says. This vitamin can help boost immunity thanks to the fact that it's an antioxidant; this means it works to protect your bodies from free radicals and inflammation. Additionally, those powerful antioxidants aid your body's iron absorption, which helps improve digestion and all-around gut health. Richards points out that it can even boost your mood: "Vitamin C is essential for making dopamine and serotonin which enhance mood and prevent depression symptoms," she says.
But the gut-healthy benefits of bell pepper don't stop at its vitamin C content. As it turns out, these crunchy veggies are also a fantastic source of dietary fiber, which is another building block of overall wellness and healthy digestion. And let's not forget that they're also so yummy and so versatile. What an incredible food!
How to cook red peppers for the most Vitamin C
Okay, so now you know all about the nutrients bell peppers can offer for gut health and immunity. But as it turns out, how you prepare them can be crucial when it comes to reaping these benefits. "Certain cooking methods can reduce the amount of vitamin C available in the peppers. This is especially true for red bell peppers," Richards says.
It's best to avoid boiling or steaming bell peppers, as this "can decrease their vitamin C contents because vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin," she explains. Instead, try sauteing, roasting, or eating them raw. She says this is the best way to maintain their vitamin C content and get all those great health benefits. Noted! We're going to pick some up at the grocery store ASAP.