Laura’s Boosting Her Immune System

This article is part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three members of the WebMD team as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.

By Laura J. Downey

Last summer my primary care doctor told me that my white blood cell count was abnormally low. This did not surprise me because for years it has always been below average. But it made me wonder what I could do to help get my number below average.

You see, white blood cells help the body fight infections. So, as it is, my body is capable of fighting, but it is not bringing “a game” to the battle. And with the flu season here and COVID-19 lurking, I can’t afford to take any chances. After all, I’m a 43-year-old, and I have plenty of life left – I’m not going to let low white blood cells get me out of the question!

Knowing that vitamin C is a must have for boosting the immune system, I decided to add citrus fruits to my life – but not just any citrus would do! Blood oranges have been said to be for royalty, so I naturally turned to the majestic fruit with its savory raspberry flavor. A few days later, I received a box straight from a California farm filled with Moro blood oranges! OK, so the name sounds super creepy, but I promise you this natural mutation from the standard orange is worth a try.

If you love food like me, you’ve probably been served a dish enhanced with a blood orange or savored a cocktail with the beautiful blood orange as a garnish. I digress. Back to my citrus heaven box. When I opened the package, I cut a blood orange in half and bit into it. First of all when I opened it the bright red pigment looked so pretty! I had to take a photo. It’s truly Instagram-worthy, so I’ll be sure to post the image this week. Second, when I bit into it, a burst of juicy sweetness filled my mouth. Can you say: “Delicious ?!” Third, the nutritional benefits are invaluable.

A 70-calorie blood orange is packed with nutrients, including potassium, fiber, vitamin A, and the antioxidant anthocyanin (which gives orange that beautiful red color). I can’t wait to include one in my next meal, a seared halibut recipe. With just 15 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cooking, I can afford a healthy meal filled with everything that’s good for my body (including my skin – goodbye to wrinkles!).

I was never really an orange girl – let alone a blood orange – but now I’m sold! So if you’re looking for ways to boost your immune system, or just want to add a sweeter touch to dinner, grab this satisfying citrus fruit, which is in season until May. Orange are you happy to have shared this information with you?

Laura J. Downey is the editor-in-chief of WebMD Magazine. She hopes this blog will help others see that every small step can lead to a more balanced, healthy and fulfilling life. To learn more about her career, follow her on Instagram

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