Boost Immune System: Top 20 Immune Boosting Foods
Frequent bouts of colds and flu are not something that you should take lightly. It is important for you to keep your immune system in peak condition. Imagine a body with a weakened immune system that is unable to fight the daily invasion of bacteria and viruses. This would cause a lot of trouble and may even lead to serious diseases. In order to strengthen your body’s natural defense mechanism, you should give it an immune system booster in the form of healthy foods. Here are 20 of the best foods that boost the immune system.
Ginger tea is a popular remedy for those who have colds or flu. The reason behind this is because ginger provides anti-nausea effects that can lower the nausea symptoms you encounter when you have flu. Ginger contains high amounts of gingerol, which is a substance that can lower the risk of infections. It also has powerful antimicrobial properties that prevent bacteria from damaging the body. You can add ginger to your home cooked meals and even sprinkle them to your favorite smoothies. Read more – Top 10 Health Benefits of Ginger.
Vitamin C is probably the biggest reason why people need to eat oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits when they are down with flu or colds. Vitamin C is great for strengthening your immune system. Vitamin C is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and also acts as an antioxidant that protects your immune cells. The human body is not capable of producing its own vitamin C, which makes it vital for you to include citrus fruits into your diet. It is okay to take vitamin C supplements, but it is even better to increase your intake of citrus fruits and plant foods because they contain other vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your overall health.
Skin is a vital part of your immune system because it is the first-line of defense against bacteria and viruses. In order for your skin to stay healthy and strong, you need a constant dose of vitamin A. One of the best ways to have a high intake of vitamin A is to include sweet potatoes into your diet. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. There are also a lot of foods that contain beta-carotene such as carrots and tomatoes. When it comes to boosting your immune system, don’t forget to improve the health of your skin.
Red Bell Pepper
Foods that boost the immune system should contain a variety of nutrients that are very important in building up your body’s defense mechanism. One of these foods is a bell pepper, which contains both vitamin C and beta-carotene to strengthen your immune system inside and outside. As mentioned above, vitamin C is antibacterial, which can help protect your body from infections and diseases. Vitamin C and beta-carotene can also help improve your skin condition.
Shellfish is rich in selenium, which helps your white blood cells to produce cytokines. These cytokines are proteins that eliminate flu viruses out of your body. Plus, shellfish contain omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation, thus protecting your lungs and respiratory system from infections. Two servings a week of oysters, crabs, clams, or lobsters are great for maintaining the health of your immune system.
Your mom may have prepared a hot chicken soup for you when you had a fever. Research has shown that chicken soup has the ability to block the movement of inflammatory white cells that can accumulate in the bronchial tubes, resulting in cold and flu symptoms. The process of cooking and boiling the chicken releases an amino acid cysteine that helps fight the cold symptoms. The warm broth also works the same way as a cough syrup that relieves the mucus. Plus, the spices mixed within the broth can increase its immune-boosting properties.
Yogurt is rich in probiotics, which are good bacteria that keep your gut and intestine free from bad bacteria. The live and active bacteria culture in yogurt can also stimulate your immune system to fight diseases. Yogurt is also a good source of vitamin D, which helps regulate your immune system and boost your natural defenses against invading viruses and germs. When buying yogurt, choose the plain variety and avoid the flavored ones because they are loaded with sugars. If you want to add more flavor to the yogurt, just add healthy fruits instead. Read more – Vitamin D Foods: Top Foods Highest in Vitamin D
Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which is an important nutrient for keeping your immune system in sharp condition. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, meaning it needs the presence of fats to be absorbed properly by the body. Almonds and most nuts are perfect for delivering vitamin E because they are also rich in healthy fats. Read more – Top 25 Healthy Fat Foods
Garlic contains allicin, which is an active compound that enhances the ability of immune cells to destroy foreign viruses that invade the body and causes infections, colds, and flu. Since garlic is antibacterial and antiviral, you have a much better protection from viral infections. Research has shown that people who took garlic extract for 12 weeks were less likely to catch a cold compared to the other group who did not take the garlic. If you want to improve the positive effects of garlic on your immune system, it is recommended to eat at least one clove twice per day. Read more – Top 10 Health Benefits of Garlic
Cutting back on beef or avoiding beef completely may lead to zinc deficiency, which would ultimately weaken your immune system. According to the experts, even a mild deficiency in zinc can increase your risk of infection. You need a regular dose of zinc to help in the development of white blood cells that targets and kills invading viruses and bacteria. If you’re not too fond of eating beef, you can try zinc-fortified foods such as milk, poultry, cereals, and yogurt.
Mushrooms are one of the best foods that boost the immune system because they can increase the production of white blood cells. Mushrooms also help these defensive blood cells to become more aggressive, preventing the onset of infection and killing viruses and bacteria that can cause sicknesses and disease. The most powerful and effective mushrooms that build the immune system are the reishi, shiitake, and maitake mushrooms.
Berries contain high amounts of polyphenols, which is antimicrobial and can be used to treat infections. Snacking on berries is great in keeping your immune system healthy. These polyphenols have been found to protect your body against the influenza virus that causes flu and defend you against salmonella and E. coli infections.
You may want to replace your beverage drink with a healthier green tea because it contains a powerful antioxidant that can improve your immune function. This antioxidant, known as EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate, is powerful enough to give your immune system a big boost, thus keeping you away from diseases. Green tea is also rich in L-theanine, which is an amino acid that helps in the production of the bacteria and virus-fighting T-cells. Read more – Top 10 Health Benefits of Green Tea
Turmeric is known as a bright golden yellow spice that is used in curries. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Studies suggest that turmeric has the ability to regulate the communication between the white blood cells with the immune system and the whole body. Plus, turmeric contains curcumin, which helps the defensive mechanism of the body, thus boosting your immune system. Read more – Top 10 Turmeric Health Benefits
Papaya is another fruit that is loaded with vitamin C. The papain found in papaya has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that help keep your immune system strong. Plus, papaya is rich in folate, B vitamins, and potassium, which can definitely boost your overall health. Read more – Top 10 Papaya Health Benefits
The sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, along with other nutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that is capable of regulating the functions of the immune system. A quarter-cup of sunflower seeds can provide you with 82 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin E.
Spinach is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, and a lot of antioxidants that can really boost the immune system. Just like other vegetables, spinach should not be overcooked to retain its beneficial nutrients.
Broccoli is another super healthy vegetable that can help you avoid getting sick. It is highly packed with vitamin A, C, and E, as well as fiber and antioxidants that can really give your immune system a big boost. Read more – High Fiber Foods List
Oats and Barley
Oats and barley contain a special type of fiber that is called beta-glucan, which has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. This is an important compound because it can boost your immunity and speed up the healing of your wounds. One study reports that oats and barley are even much more effective than Echinacea.
Oysters are a powerhouse of nutrition. This seafood is rich in selenium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, and zinc, which are all vital in the proper functioning of your immune system. Plus, a 3-ounce serving of oysters is enough to provide you with 16 grams of top quality protein. If you want to look for highly nutritious foods that boost the immune system, you can find many of them as seafood.