Foods that can boost your immunity. The immune system plays a crucial role in protecting the body against infections and illnesses.
A strong immune system can help fight off diseases and keep you healthy. While there are several ways to boost your immune system, including regular exercise, adequate sleep, and reducing stress, your diet plays a significant role in keeping your immune system strong.
Eight foods that can boost your immunity:
1. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, a nutrient that plays a vital role in strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps protect the body against harmful free radicals that can damage cells and weaken the immune system. Eating citrus fruits regularly can help increase the production of white blood cells, which are critical in fighting infections and illnesses.
Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, it’s easy to add a squeeze of this vitamin to any meal.
Popular citrus fruits include:
Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, you need daily vitamin C for continued health. The recommended daily amount for most adults is:
- 75 mg for women
- 90 mg for men
Garlic has long been known for its immune-boosting properties. It contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help fight off infections. Garlic also contains sulfur-containing compounds that help stimulate the immune system and enhance the activity of white blood cells. Adding garlic to your diet can help reduce the risk of catching a cold or flu and can help shorten the duration of these illnesses.
Garlic may also slow down hardening of the arteries, and there’s weak evidence that it helps lower blood pressure.
Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin.
Ginger is another food that has been used for centuries for its immune-boosting properties. It contains compounds called gingerols and shgaols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help strengthen the immune system. Ginger also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight off infections. Drinking ginger tea or adding fresh ginger to your meals can help keep your immune system strong.
Yogurt is a probiotic food that contains live cultures of beneficial bacteria that can help improve gut health. A healthy gut is essential for a strong immune system since a large percentage of the immune system resides in the gut. Eating yogurt regularly can help increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, which can help improve immune function and reduce the risk of infections. It is one of the foods that can boost your immunity.
Look for yogurts that have the phrase “live and active cultures” printed on the label, like Greek yogurt. These cultures may stimulate your immune system to help fight diseases.
Try to get plain yogurts rather than the kind that are flavored and loaded with sugar. You can sweeten plain yogurt yourself with healthy fruits and a drizzle of honey instead.
Yogurt can also be a great source of vitamin D which helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is packed with nutrients that can help boost the immune system. It is rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and antioxidants that can help protect the body against free radicals that can damage cells and weaken the immune system. Spinach is also a good source of iron, which is essential for the production of white blood cells that help fight infections.
Similar to broccoli, spinach is healthiest when it’s cooked as little as possible so that it retains its nutrients.
Blueberries are a superfood that is loaded with antioxidants that can help boost the immune system. They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and flavonoids that can help protect the body against free radicals that can damage cells and weaken the immune system. Eating blueberries regularly can help reduce inflammation in the body, which can help improve immune function.
Almonds are a type of nut that is rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help boost the immune system. Vitamin E helps protect the body against free radicals that can damage cells and weaken the immune system. Almonds are also a good source of protein and healthy fats, which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Research suggests that eating nuts regularly might contribute to better heart health and other health benefits. Eating almonds daily can be a great choice, as they provide protein, fiber, and micronutrients such as vitamin E and iron.
A single serving of almonds provides 6.1 grams of carbohydrate. Almonds are a good source of fiber and have a lower glycemic index than many other nuts,3
making them a good choice for people on low-carb diets.
Turmeric is a spice that has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. It contains a compound called curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help boost the immune system. Turmeric also has antimicrobial properties that can help fight off infections. Adding turmeric to your meals or drinking turmeric tea can help keep your immune system strong.
Research shows that high concentrations of curcumin, which gives turmeric its distinctive color, can help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage. Curcumin has promise as an immune booster (based on findings from animal studies) and an antiviral.
It’s also worth noting that a balanced diet is key to overall health and well-being. In addition to these foods that can boost your immunity, it’s important to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet to ensure that you’re getting all of the essential nutrients your body needs.
Experiment with different recipes and cooking techniques to find what works for you. For example, you can add citrus fruits to your morning smoothie, sauté garlic and ginger with your vegetables, or sprinkle turmeric on your roasted veggies.
In addition to a healthy diet, it’s also important to maintain other healthy habits to support your immune system. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are all important for keeping your immune system strong.
In conclusion, the foods that can boost your immunity are not so difficult. By incorporating citrus fruits, garlic, ginger, yogurt, spinach, blueberries, almonds, and turmeric into your diet, you can help improve immune function and reduce the risk of infections.