.As COVID-19 extends its reach across the greater United States, and to our front doorsteps, all of us are weighing different mitigation measures. Some of these include social distancing, face masks, gloves, and staying at home. But just as much as preventing the spread of COVID-19—and preserving our health—is reliant on these simple measures, tending to our health also means managing our diets!.

There are plenty of foods to stock up on during these times, but people have an option: To stock up on just any old thing, or to make nutritional choices that underscore their priorities of not getting sick. For those that take care of young children, tend to the elderly, or are elderly themselves, this means prioritizing foods that are immunity-boosting in nature..

This is why we have put together a shortlist of 5 immunity-boosting foods to look out for on your next trip to the grocery store! And while a list of these food items is useful, we wanted to also provide you with some quick suggestions as to how you can use them in meals for realistic incorporation into your daily diet..

To be clear, none of these foods is a cure-all, and none of this information should be taken as hard and fast medical advice. Additionally, immune protections from foods tend to come from nutritional variety, so eating just one of these items may very well not be enough. Regardless, however, incorporating some of these foods into your daily—or weekly—diet can be an extra, and even necessary, step to further protecting yourself. So, without further ado, let’s get into this list!.

Broccoli

We get it: Broccoli was your least-favorite vegetable growing up. But remember that broccoli is your friend! As one of the healthiest—and most versatile—foods that you can put on your plate, broccoli is also a vegetable that is chock full of nutrients: be it an assortment of antioxidants, much-needed fiber, or vitamins A, C, & E. (via Healthline).

Photographed by Louis Hansel

The great thing about broccoli is that it can be a perfect supplement to a balanced meal, or used as an ingredient in a complicated dish. Just as much as Broccoli can be placed raw in salads, it can be roasted, steamed, and an essential ingredient in soups and stews. But how much you benefit from broccoli—like all vegetables—depends on how it is cooked. So, while preparing this vegetable, try to cook it as little as possible. Our recommended method is light steaming: Steam the broccoli for a tiny bit of softness and taste, but don’t steam it until the vegetable loses color—if you get to that point, you have gone too far..

As you are considering your options, Seal the Seasons will be offering frozen broccoli starting in May 2020 in the Mid-Atlantic region. For those of you in North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia, be sure to see our store locator to find our locally-sourced frozen broccoli near you!.

Spinach

A close second—or even first—in your least-favorite childhood veggies was probably spinach. After all, so many kids disliked it when we were young, that a literal cartoon aired on TV to promote its consumption! But spinach is a great addition to your immune-boosting diet, and even better, it is super easy to incorporate into a daily regimen. With antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamin C, spinach may be great for enhancing the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.

Photographed by Nathan Dumlao

.Incorporating spinach into our diets is fairly straightforward: while it can be used as a cooked side in the creation of a larger dish, it can also be a centerpiece addition to one’s daily diet. Similar to broccoli, spinach’s nutritional properties are best preserved when it is cooked as little as possible. Unlike broccoli, however, it is fairly normal to eat spinach raw. For such reasons, spinach is best used as the foundation of a salad, where it can be consumed raw and in its most nutritious form, however, light cooking does enhance its vitamin A properties. (via Healthline).

As you are considering your options, Seal the Seasons will be offering frozen spinach starting in May 2020 in the Mid-Atlantic region. For those of you in North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia, be sure to check out our store locator to find our locally-sourced frozen spinach near you!.

Garlic

Garlic, along with related foods like onions, has developed a reputation for being cold-fighting food. While more research is needed, this much is known: Garlic’s immune-boosting properties may come from sulfur-containing compounds that exist in high concentrations within the vegetable. Recent research has suggested that this may be true: In an article published by the American Society of Nutrition, researchers discovered that while there were no differences in between the number of illnesses experienced by users and non-users of garlic, there was a difference in the severity of illnesses, the number of symptoms and number of missed school and work days. (via Eat This, Health.com)

Photographed by Tijana Drndarski

The best thing about garlic is that it can go in literally anything, while the worst thing about garlic is probably cutting it! Though I digress, garlic can be a great addition to just about ANY dish—pasta, meats, steamed veggies, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All you need is an imagination for where its savory greatness can be applied, and the possibilities are endless! Just don’t gross anybody out by going wild on incorporating it..

Tart Cherries

While there is information to suggest that both sweet and tart cherries contain beneficial nutritional properties, research has shown that tart cherries are a concentrated source of vitamin A—a nutrient that not only may be connected to a healthy immune system but also healthy skin and preserving eye health. This is so much the case, that roughly half a cup of cherries provides nearly 50% of our daily intake for vitamin A..

Photographed by Gaelle Marcel

Because cherries are a tasty fruit, they can be incorporated daily as a healthy snack of choice when hunger strikes. Additionally, it is also suggested that tart cherry juice can contain many of the nutritional properties of the whole fruit. (via The Daily Meal).

For those of you in the tri-state region, Seal the Seasons offers locally sourced tart cherries for your year-round enjoyment. Be sure to visit our store locator to find our locally-sourced cherries near you!.

Blueberries

When it comes to foods that deserve the amount of love that they receive, blueberries occupy the top of the list. This is all to say that while we may have blueberries listed last, they are certainly not the least beneficial food to incorporate into your diet. In truth, blueberries are nutritionally versatile: as a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A—both connected to immune health—as well as potassium, fiber, and manganese, blueberries are an exceptional food that can provide great nutritional coverage all around..

Photographed by Syd Wachs

Like cherries, blueberries can also be incorporated into your daily diet as a snack of choice when hunger strikes. For those of you who would like to incorporate the fruit in a more structured regimen, however, it is never a bad idea to turn your attention to a tasty smoothie!.

No matter your region, Seal the Seasons offers tasty blueberries for your year-round enjoyment. Go ahead and drop by our store locator page to find our locally-sourced blueberries near you!.

While these five foods made our list, it should be known that there are many more options out there for those of you who have access to—or prefer—something different. Foods that deserve an honorary mention are citrus fruits, ginger, green tea, honey, almonds, Greek yogurt, and many more. For more on immune-boosting foods that you can incorporate into your diet, check out Healthline.com for more information!