There are a lot of products on the market to boost your immune system but just by eating normal foods found in the supermarket, your body puts them to good use to boost your immune system naturally. Find out what they are in this post.
Table of Contents
- What does your immune system do?
- How can I boost my immune system with food?
- So which foods are best to boost my immune system?
What does your immune system do?
Your immune system is made up of your body’s organs, cells and proteins that fight infection. Together, they help your body fight against infection, while protecting the body’s own cells.
There are of course exceptions to this, for example, when you are born with an abnormal immune system. Abnormalities of the immune system can lead to allergic diseases, immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders.
Your body’s immune system might be compromised, for example during winter, when colds and flus are more widely spread or in the more recent COVID pandemic. In this case, specific immunizations are administered to help fight against these specific diseases. You can help avoid catching some of these viruses and diseases by practicing good hygiene, wearing a mask and keeping your distance from other people.
Some people are born with specific immuno-compromised conditions like Type 1 diabetes, asthma or a disease might be contracted later in life like AIDS or leukemia. Putting pressure on your immune system by not eating nutritious food, obesity, smoking or getting older can all affect your immune system to work effectively.
How can I boost my immune system with food?
You can, however, boost your body’s immune system naturally with common foods found in the supermarket.
By following a nutritious diet, eating a wide range of foods, balanced with daily movement and getting fresh air will all help to boost your immune system naturally to fight off more common diseases.
So which foods are best to boost my immune system?
The following foods contain high quantities of vitamins and minerals which have been found to fight off some diseases and help boost those micro organisms found naturally in your body. Also these foods contain so much more than the vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system. Each one contains so much other goodness for your body’s needs, naturally.
Nature has a wonderful way of making fruits and vegetables seasonal to help us boost our immune systems when it is needed most. For example, in winter, when the weather is colder and we are more susceptible to colds and flus, citrus fruit is in abundance.
Oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, clementines, mandarins or tangerines all contain a high quantity of Vitamin C which is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which is key to fighting infections.
One thing to remember is that the body isn’t able to store Vitamin C so eating these fruits daily will help keep those Vitamin C levels high. Enjoy your citrus fruits as follows:
- Freshly squeezed juice at breakfast
- Orange segments for a snack (freeze for a cooling summer snack)
- Lunch box treats
- Juiced and frozen as icy treats
- Juice added to stir fries, salad dressings
- Citrus segmented and added to salads
- Zest used in pesto, salads, all dishes etc
- Citrus slices in drinks
- Dry zest and sprinkle onto all meals for an extra flavour boost.
Red Bell Peppers
Another thing nature does so well is to provide super colorful produce to help us choose the right foods for our body’s needs. One such vegetable is bell peppers but not just any bell pepper. The red ones!
In fact, red bell peppers contain the highest quantity of Vitamin C out of all the fruits and vegetables containing nearly 3 more times than an orange.
Raw, baked, stuff, in salads, oven roasted and marinated in olive oil. Whichever way you enjoy them, be sure to eat them on a regular basis to keep those Vitamin C levels high.
I’m proud to say one vegetable I can get my children to eat is broccoli. They love it roasted but it’s great raw, as a low carb option for rice, boiled, steamed, in soups and in salads.
Cooking it for the least amount of time ensures that the high levels of vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fiber and many other antioxidants broccoli contains, will be retained.
Used in a wide variety of cuisines around the world, garlic is featured high in a lot of these dishes as a way to boost the flavour and boost your immune system.
Old fashioned home remedies include adding garlic to homemade chicken soup or making a paste with honey and eaten off a spoon. Some cultures just eat it raw.
Be careful that too much garlic may cause bad breath, indigestion or irritation in the mouth. If you add just a teaspoon of freshly crushed or sliced garlic (or minced garlic from a jar) to your favourite dishes, it will go a long way to boost your immune system and protecting you from colds and flus.
Ginger & Turmeric
Ginger and turmeric are more of those natural immune boosting ingredients used by so many cultures around the world. Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern and many others use ginger and garlic, and turmeric, in nearly all of their main dishes. Not only that, it has been used by many cultures for thousands of years as a traditional medicine.
Not only does it help boost the immune system against common diseases, ginger contains antioxidants and other nutrients which may help prevent or treat arthritis, inflammation, and various types of infection.
Ginger may also help decrease inflammation, which can help reduce a sore throat and inflammatory illnesses. Drinking a tea made with ginger will help treat nausea or adding a small knob of ginger to your morning smoothie are great ways to incorporate it other than in meals.. Sliced, crushed or in powdered form, ginger is another product to add to your grocery list.
Popeye couldn’t have been wrong, eating copious amounts of spinach to boost his strength. Another green leafy vegetable containing a lot of Vitamin C, it is also packed with antioxidants and beta carotene, which may both increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.
Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients. Use in smoothies, salads, quiches, goes great with egg dishes, be sure to include spinach in your diet. If you can’t find fresh, frozen is just as good.
Full of vitamins and minerals and low in calories, spinach is a wonder vegetable. Be sure to check out the different varieties of spinach available
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds such as sunflower seeds and nuts such as almonds contain essential vitamins and minerals to help boost our immune systems.
While it is more commonly thought that Vitamin C is essential to boost your immune system, Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and key to a healthy immune system. Nutrient dense seeds and nuts contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to help absorb other nutrients, all contributing to boosting and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Both green and black teas contain an antioxidant called flavonoids but green tea contains high levels of a powerful antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Studies have shown that the EGCG contained in green tea can enhance our immune systems.
Unfortunately most of the antioxidants found in black tea are lost in the fermentation process but not with green tea. There is so much more to green tea that is worth checking out. It really is a super drink to include in your day.
There are even more specific foods to help you boost your immune system but a combination of eating a wide variety of nutrient dense foods, ensuring good hygiene by washing hands before you eat, getting adequate fresh air and including daily movement will all help to boosting your immune system.
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