As the season changes and temperatures dip, that doesn’t mean you have to give up your standby smoothie. In fact, it’s particularly beneficial this time of year. Whether you enjoy blended bevs for breakfast or a snack, they’re a fast way to get your daily dose of health-protecting fruits and vegetables. “Diet plays an integral role in immunity,” says Acacia Wright, R.D., C.D. “Even small deficiencies in protein, vitamins B, C and D and zinc have been shown to impair the immune system.” To stay healthy during cold and flu season, she suggests eating colorful fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.
But it’s not just the produce in your smoothie that’s protective. High-quality protein powders, like those from Orgain, give your defenses some muscle. “If you don’t have enough protein, you don’t produce enough white blood cells to fight infection,” says Wright. “If you’re worried about not getting adequate protein, you might want to consume more. And what easier way to get it than with protein powder in your smoothie or a ready-to-drink protein shake? It’s a simple way to start your day.” Orgain Organic Protein and Greens Powder and Orgain Organic Superfood Powder start with clean protein and pack powerful nutrients that are known to support immunity during cold and flu season, like iron and vitamins C and B6.
Transition into chillier weather by incorporating ingredients that add a hit of coziness to your smoothie—and pack immunity-supporting benefits.
The Superfood: Pumpkin
PSL lovers, rejoice! This smashing squash is one of the best sources of beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant that converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps regulate the immune system and protects against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy. One cup of pumpkin packs 197% of your daily recommended value for vitamin A, and 16% of your recommended daily value of vitamin C, an antioxidant that activates white blood cells that protect the body against infection.
How to use it: Blend pumpkin puree (canned or fresh) with cinnamon, almond milk and ginger. Get the full recipe.
The Superfood: Protein Shakes
Some mornings, you don’t have the time or energy to whip up a smoothie. Instead, reach for a protein drink rich in immunity-supporting vitamins and minerals, like Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Shake. “This shake is a good source of 10 different nutrients correlated with supporting your immune system,” says Wright. It’s made with whole foods like greens, blueberries, other veggies, and whole grains, so it’s a healthful and immune-supporting meal replacement.
The Superfood: Blood Oranges
Winter is when vitamin C-rich citrus really shines—that’s when fruits are the ripest and juiciest.
How to use it: Wright loves the deep crimson color of blood oranges and their sweet (and berry-tinged) flavor. Combine orange slices with frozen berries, greens, chia seeds, Orgain Organic Superfoods Powder, and ice and blend.
The Superfood: Almonds
One half-cup of almonds provides around 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage and supports a healthy inflammatory response, says Wright. They are also a good source of protein, which builds and repairs tissue and creates antibodies and cells that fight infection.
How to use it: Make your life easy and look for almond milk that’s fortified with protein, like Orgain Organic Protein Almond Milk, says Wright. The brand has one third less sugar than other brands on the market. It’s also a good source of iron (a nutrient that stimulates white blood cell production), as well as 25% of your daily vitamin D and calcium needs. Try it in a Triple Almond Smoothie — topped with the crunch of slivered almonds, it’s a delicious way to start any day.
The Superfood: Ginger
Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds called gingerols (polyphenol), which help fight infections.
How to use it: Wright takes a quarter-inch of peeled fresh ginger and grates it directly into the blender. Try this recipe.
The Superfood: Elderberry
The delicate dark purple berry comes from the Sambucus tree and can usually be found at farmer’s markets. “Studies have shown that it has strong antioxidant and antiviral properties,” says Wright. One study on flu patients published by the Journal of Integrated Medical Research showed that elderberry extract shortened symptoms by an average of four days.
How to use it: Wright suggests blending organic elderberry juice or syrup with other berries, grapefruit, and Orgain Organic Protein and Greens Powder.
The Superfood: Beets
A cup of beets provides 37% of your daily value of folate, which helps create and repair DNA and plays an essential role in the immune system’s healthy balance, says Wright.
How to use it: Add cooked beets or juice with a mix of spinach and fruit. Try this recipe.
The Superfood: Turmeric
This vibrant saffron-colored spice contains curcumin, a polyphenol compound with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. “It also has prebiotic-like properties which enable it to positively influence gut microbiota, supporting the gut-immune connection,” says Wright.
How to use it: If you can find fresh turmeric root, grate a quarter teaspoon into your blender. Whether it’s fresh or powdered, always add a pinch of pepper to help your body use it by 1,000 times, adds Wright. Make this recipe.