Your immune system is your body’s defense against foreign invaders that cause illness and disease. Therefore, you want to do everything you can to keep your immune system functioning properly. Let’s take a look at the top twelve foods you should include in your diet to boost your immune system.
1. Elderberry – Elderberry has been used for centuries to decrease inflammation and boost your immunity. Elderberry contains high levels of vitamin C which is an antioxidant that helps to rid the body of free radicals. Free radicals and toxins cause inflammation and damage tissues and organs in the body. In addition to this, elderberry is rich in dietary fiber and contains phenolic acids and anthocyanins, which help reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress.
2. Yogurt – The live cultures found in yogurt are teeming with healthy bacteria called probiotics. Probiotics boost the immune system by decimating bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. The GI tract is where most of your immune system is located. By creating a balanced gut microbiome, you can enhance your immunity and fight off many illnesses and diseases.
3. Barley and oats – These two grains contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan provides antimicrobial and antioxidant protection. Additionally, fiber helps to sweep bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins from the gastrointestinal tract to enhance your immunity.
4. Garlic – Garlic contains allicin, which helps to improve your immune health. Allicin has been shown to decrease bacteria in the body and fight of infection. The National Institute of Health published findings that determined that garlic decreased inflammation in the ear by increasing the production of natural killer cells.
5. Tea – Black tea has been found to increase interferon which helps fight viruses. Black tea and green teas contain an amino acid called L-theanine, which helps to boost the immune system.
6. Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A is responsible for keeping your skin healthy. Many people do not realize that the skin plays a major role in immunity. In addition to sweet potatoes, you can increase your vitamin A by eating orange fruits and vegetables, including carrots, squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe.
7. Bell peppers – Bell peppers are filled with antioxidants like vitamin C . When your body does not get enough vitamin C, your immune resprqueonse can become impaired, which will make you susceptible to infections. Vitamin C helps to reduce the severity and longevity of respiratory infections.
8. Eggs – Eggs are rich in vitamin D. Vitamin D is used by the body to improve the absorption rate of calcium. Additionally, vitamin D is needed for a healthy immune system. When you do not get enough vitamin D, you have an increased risk of respiratory infections and immune disorders like type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
9. Mushrooms – Mushrooms have been shown to increase the activity and production of white blood cells to help you better fight off infections. The best mushrooms to boost your immunity include reishi, shiitake and maitake mushrooms.
10. Fatty fish – Fatty fish are high in omega 3 fatty acids which help to boost your immunity, decrease inflammation and protect your lungs by increasing airflow. Omega 3 fatty acids can help ward off respiratory infections, the flu, and the common cold.
11. Oysters – Oysters offers some of the best virus-fighting protection. They are loaded with zinc. Zinc creates and activates white blood cells and improves the healing of wounds. In addition to oysters, you can find it in red meats, fortified cereals, and whole grains. Increasing your consumption of zinc-rich foods at the first sign of an upper respiratory illness, you can reduce the severity and length of your illness.
12. Honey – Raw honey contains phytonutrients that provide antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral protection. Honey also helps to soothe irritation and provide energy to your immune system. Finally, honey is filled with antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and free radical damage in the body.
Your immune system is vital to maintaining health and preventing illness. Eating foods that increase your immunity by providing the body with the nutrients that it needs to fight off infections is your first step towards healing. The foods described above provide antioxidant protection and help to boost immunity naturally. Include them in your diet to protect against illnesses and diseases.