12 Foods That Boost Your Immune System
- Posted on in Nutrition
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.
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 and promote optimal health.
1. Elderberry – Elderberry has been used for centuries to decrease inflammation and naturally boost the immune system. Elderberry is packed full of antioxidants and vitamins that help remove free radicals and toxins from the body. Toxins and free radicals can damage the tissues and organs in your body. Elderberry is also rich in dietary fiber and contains phenolic acids and anthocyanins, which help reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress. Elderberry is available in lozenges, pills, syrups, gummies, and teas. Both the berries and the flowers of the elderberry are packed with nutrients that can help fuel the immune system.
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, which helps to rebalance the gastrointestinal tract where most of the immune system is located. By creating a balanced gut microbiome, you can enhance your immunity and fight off many illnesses and diseases. Furthermore, probiotics have been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body and promote overall health and well-being. The probiotics in yogurt improve the immune system’s response by increasing immune cell activity.
3. Barley and oats – These two grains contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan. Beta-glucan provides antimicrobial and antioxidant Additionally, fiber helps to sweep bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins from the gastrointestinal tract while it enhances your immunity. These grains trigger an immune response when you are exposed to a microbe. Barley and oats are filled with immune enhancing nutrients, including vitamin B1, iron, selenium, fiber, protein, and zinc. Incorporate these two grains into your diet for improved immune health.
4. Garlic – Garlic contains a potent compound called allicin, which helps your immune system fight germs and other microbes. Allicin is the sulfur that gives garlic its taste and smell. Allicin boosts the response of white blood cells when they encounter a virus like the flu, the common cold, or COVID-19. Garlic also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that decrease systemic inflammation. 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 – Tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years. Studies have determined that drinking tea can help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system naturally. White tea contains antioxidants that fight several types of cancer. This delicious tea contains the least amount of caffeine in teas. Black tea has been found to increase interferon which helps your body effectively fight viruses. Black teas and green teas contain an amino acid called L-theanine, which has been shown to help to boost the immune system. Finally, there are numerous herbal teas that can enhance your immunity. These include ginger, hibiscus, rooibos, peppermint, and chamomile teas.
6. Sweet potatoes –Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and provide a number of health benefits, including improving your skin health. Sweet potatoes, especially, orange and purple ones, contain high amounts of antioxidants, which help protect the body from free radicals. Sweet potatoes contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps clean the digestive tract and feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Sweet potatoes maintain healthy mucus membranes, decrease inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, and promote health and healing. In addition to sweet potatoes, you can increase your vitamin A stores by including pumpkin, carrots, and squash.
7. Bell peppers – Bell peppers are filled with antioxidants like vitamin C. When your body does not get enough vitamin C, your immune response can become impaired, which will make you susceptible to infections. Vitamin C helps to reduce the severity and longevity of respiratory infections. Many people know that citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C; however, many do not realize that a red or yellow bell pepper contains approximately two times the amount of vitamin C than an orange has. In addition to vitamin C, bell peppers contain beta carotene, which also has been shown to strengthen the immune system.
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. Eggs also contain protein, zinc, selenium, and vitamin E, which all work to ensure the immune system is working properly.
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. Mushrooms have been used in natural medicine for thousands of years. Mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, they can also be used included in an herbal supplement. Chaga mushrooms are filled with antioxidants that fight free radical damage, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity. Turkey tail mushrooms also contain a compound that stimulates the immune system.
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. Fish Oils can help ward off respiratory infections, the flu, and the common cold. The DHA found in fatty fish enhances the activation of B cells and increases the production of antibodies. Fish oils help to soothe the inflammatory response to reduce inflammation throughout the body. For best results, include at least two servings of fish per week to improve your immune system and reduce systemic inflammation.
11. Oysters – Oysters offer 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 zinc in red meats, fortified cereals, and whole grains. Increasing your consumption of zinc-rich foods at the first sign of an upper respiratory illness can reduce the severity and length of your illness. Oysters are also a good source of protein and contain vitamin B12, vitamin D, copper, iron, manganese, and selenium. One medium sized oyster contains 100 percent of the daily recommended daily allowance of vitamin B12 and more than half of the RDA of selenium and zinc. Finally, oysters are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, riboflavin, magnesium, and phosphorus.
12. Honey - Raw honey contains phytonutrients that provide antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral protection. Honey also helps to soothe irritation and provide energy for your immune system. This flavorful sweet liquid contains calcium, magnesium, and iron to help boost your immune system. Finally, honey is filled with antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and free radical damage in the body. One teaspoonful of honey each day can help protect against illness and disease.
Your immune system is vital to maintaining your 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. In addition, BioPharma Scientific provides delicious nutritional formulas that help to improve your overall health. Include them in your diet to protect against illnesses and diseases.