Market experts reveal the trendy foods with hidden health benefits that you might want to stock up on, too.

Karla Walsh
July 14, 2020
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The run on toilet paper isn't the only thing that's changed about how we grocery shop during the coronavirus pandemic. By taking note of which shelves are empty and diving into the purchase data (and, honestly, doing a fair amount of peeking into fellow shoppers' carts as we safely speed through the store in our masks), it's clear that we stock up on different foods, too.

Of course pantry staples and freezer finds were hot at the beginning of the pandemic, as we were told to limit trips to the grocery store to once every two weeks or less. Now, comfort food and snacks seem to be trending as the pandemic rages on and the uncertainty about the economy, the potential yo-yo of opening and closing businesses and back-to-school decisions hang in the balance. (In case you missed it, a recent survey found that 36% of American adults have gained weight—an average of 12.5 pounds—during the pandemic. Here's why that's OK, according to a dietitian).

Many shoppers are also seeking out foods with potential immunity benefits. As we've mentioned before here at EatingWell, there is no food, drink or supplement that can prevent or cure the coronavirus or any other viral or bacterial illness. But a whole foods-based menu that supports your immune system—including plenty of vitamin C, zinc, iron and other micronutrients—can help your body be better prepared to bounce back from any illness. Adequate sleep, proper hand hygiene and avoiding situations that put you in close contact with those who are sick are vital aspects of your immunity and sickness risk, too.

As we continue to eat differently during the pandemic, these immune-supporting foods seem to be more popular than ever, according to market experts on FoodDive. In case you've purchased them a time or two yourself, we're sharing a recipe idea for each to mix things up while getting your healthy dose.

5 Popular Immune-Supporting Foods That Have Jumped in Sales Since the Coronavirus Pandemic Began

1. Oranges

Vitamin C may help bolster the immune system, per the National Institutes of Health, and oranges are one of the strongest sources. As a result, orange juice, oranges and other citrus fruits are having a major moment. While 6 ounces of OJ or one large orange provides about your total daily needs of vitamin C, so does a cup of cooked broccoli or a half-cup of red bell pepper. For best results, aim for a variety of sources. When you do choose citrus, our Citrus Salad with Chia-Celery Seed Dressing and Brûléed Blood Oranges with Yogurt & Cardamom are a couple of the most delicious ways to get your dose!

2. Ginger

Notable for its proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, this root is great in more than ginger ale and ginger beer. Grate it into the sauce for this Ginger Roasted Salmon and Broccoli or bake it into the super-seasonal Rhubarb-Strawberry Galette.

3. Turmeric

Like ginger, this sunshine-hued root (which is often dried and ground into a spice) boasts strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Turmeric's health benefits are courtesy of curcumin, a natural chemical compound rich in polyphenols. Try the superfood in our Turmeric Rice Bowl with Garam Masala Root Vegetables & Chickpeas or Chicken Kurma for dinner this week.

4. Mushrooms

With gut health-boosting fiber, plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, mushrooms support immunity in several ways—including possibly increasing the antibody count in the body. Cap off your menu with these Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers or this 30-minute Chicken-&-Mushroom Marsala.

5. Honey

While the liquid sweetener may look unassuming in that bear-shaped bottle, each ounce actually packs in antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anticancer compounds, according to a scientific review. Squeeze it atop this Fresh Fig Tart and use it to sweeten up your Whipped Matcha Fruit Smoothies.