The immune system is a popular topic these days, and for good reason. This vital system is designed to fight off invaders that jeopardize your health and to keep you strong and healthy. There are several different things the average person can do to give their immune system a boost, with the foods you eat near the top of the list.
What you eat is completely within your control, and with some discipline and creativity, you can add several immune-boosting foods a day to your diet.
Here are 10 immune-boosting foods to get you started:
1 – Garlic
Garlic is now a well-known immune-boosting food and is included in many over-the-counter supplements and health products. You can also add garlic to salads and cooked foods, or make a healthy tea with garlic and honey. It has sulfur compounds that are antibacterial and antiviral agents in your body.
For the tea, add one clove of minced or crushed garlic to hot water and then squeeze in the juice of a lemon and a teaspoon of raw honey.
2 – Vitamin C
Vitamin C is not a food on its own, but there are a number of beneficial foods for your immune system that include high levels of vitamin C. Everyone knows that oranges and other citrus fruits contain vitamin C, but foods like green and red bell peppers, broccoli, kale and spinach are also high in this important vitamin that supplies antioxidants to strengthen your immune system.
3 – Blueberries
All types of berries are good for you, but blueberries go a step further with a flavonoid called anthocyanin. Its antioxidant properties have the ability to boost your immune system, and a study from 2016 found that flavonoids play an important role in the immune defense system of your upper respiratory tract.
4 – Healthy Oils
Heart-healthy oils are important for optimum health, and can give your immune system a boost at the same time. Some of the most beneficial oils are olive oil, coconut oil, and fatty fish like sardines and herring.
5 – Echinacea
Drinking a tea made with the flowering herb Echinacea may help improve your immune system response. You can also get it as a tincture or in a range of different supplements.
6 – Green Tea
Green tea is a good source of antioxidants and contains the amino acid theanine, which is beneficial for fighting off illnesses. Green tea has been a staple in different Asian cultures for centuries, and is now quite popular in North America.
7 – Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, watercress, and collard greens have a range of different health benefits that can improve your body’s ability to fight off viruses.
When possible, eat leafy greens raw in their natural state to get the most health benefit.
8 – Turmeric
Turmeric contains a healthful compound called curcumin that has been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory features, which contribute to immune function in the body. It is a rich yellow color and it is often used in different types of cooking, but is being used more and more in North America for medicinal purposes.
9 – Kefir
Kefir is a fermented drink that is sold in many mainstream stores and is often used for its immune-boosting capabilities. It contains live cultures of bacteria that can reduce inflammation, increase antioxidant activity, and fight bacteria.
10 – Ginger
Ginger has a strong taste, and anti-inflammatory properties to go along with it. Its ability to calm an upset stomach is well known and it can also have a positive effect on your immune system.
In the modern world, it’s increasingly important to take actions that support your immune system and encourage your body’s ability to fight off illness. By adding these foods and beverages to your diet, you’ll be doing your health a big favor.