We’re living in unprecedented times. Healthy living and boosting the immune system seem to be the topic covered by every story that crosses your newsfeed.
As we continue to maintain social distancing, keep up our hand washing, and keep our spirits high, many of us are also paying special attention to our diets. And that includes adding in some immune boosting foods to the daily menu.
What are you adding? There are lots to choose from. Here are some of our favorite immune boosting foods.
The Best Immune Boosting Foods
1. Citrus Fruits
Most of us think of orange juice when we think of vitamins, and that’s because of all the vitamin C! Vitamin C is essential because it helps build up your immune system. Additionally, vitamin C is believed to be essential in fighting infection because it increases your body’s production of white blood cells!
Your body doesn’t produce or store vitamin C, so add some of these fruits to your diet on a daily basis:
- lemons and limes
Broccoli is one of the healthiest veggies on the planet. It’s high in fiber, and a ton of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins C, A, and B6 and potassium. What makes it even better is that it’s packed with phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Phytochemicals are chemicals in plants that research shows have numerous healthful benefits.The phytochemicals in broccoli are great for the immune system. Antioxidants are just as important. They help search out and neutralize free radicals that cause cell damage which can lead to cancer!
Mmmmm, garlic bread anyone??
Garlic contains a compound called alliin. When you crush garlic, alliin turns into allicin. The thing is (and it’s a good thing) allicin is unstable, so it quickly converts to other compounds that are thought to be the source of garlic’s beneficial properties. They boost the disease-fighting response of certain white blood cells, giving your body an edge over viruses!
Yogurt is full of probiotics – the friendly bacteria that help balance the flora in your digestive system. And since most of your immune system actually lives in your gut, that’s a really good thing! Plus, it also has some vitamin A and zinc!
For an even bigger boost, throw in some fresh or frozen berries and a handful of almonds! Yum.
We all need healthy fats in our diet, and avocados never fail to deliver! The avocado is probably best known as a rich source of monounsaturated fatty acids, but it also provides vitamin E, C, and K, iron, riboflavin, magnesium, and zinc.
There are plenty of reasons this superfood made our list. Spinach is packed with vitamin C, but it’s also carrying numerous antioxidants and beta carotene in its back pocket, which may increase its infection-fighting ability. And that’s not all – its also high in folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, magnesium, and iron. These nutrients boost immune function and give your body the kick it needs for cell division and DNA repair.
You can cook spinach or eat it raw, but spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it holds its nutrients. That said, a little light steam will boost its vitamin A and allow the other nutrients to be released.
There’s a reason we turn to gingerale or ginger tea when our stomachs are acting up! Ginger is rich in antioxidant compounds, making it a potent anti-inflammatory and immune-booster. It’s also packing antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Shellfish like shrimp, clams, oysters, and crayfish are low in calories and rich in protein, healthy fats, and many micronutrients.
One of the best things about shellfish is that most is loaded with immune-boosting zinc. Zinc is crucial for the development of healthy cells that make up your body’s immune defense. It’s also a powerful antioxidant.
Turmeric is great because of its curcumin, a powerful compound with many health benefits.
Why do we love that curcumin? Like so many others on this list, it’s a potent antioxidant, so it helps reduce the active free radicals in your body, which boosts your immune system function. Additionally, we love how curcumin acts as an anti-inflammatory, giving it real potential as a therapeutic agent for immunity.
10. Green Tea
Last but not least, the much celebrated green tea!
Green tea is a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which can help your body produce germ-fighting compounds in your T-cells. It’s also another powerful antioxidant, helping to get rid of those pesky free radicals!
How to Easily Increase Immune Boosters in Your Diet
This is a hefty list, and you’re obviously not going to eat all of these immune boosting foods every day. And that’s ok, you don’t need to. But there are easy ways to incorporate a bunch of them on the regular!
- Blend up a morning smoothy with yogurt and add in some fresh orange juice.
- Make a spicy stir-fry with broccoli and shrimp and a nice turmeric and garlic stir-fry sauce.
- Have a nice soothing cup of green tea with ginger to unwind and give your digestive system a refresh in the afternoon.
- Make a nice fresh salad with some spinach and avocado for a nice light lunch.
What are your favorite immune boosting recipes? Share them on our Facebook page right here!