13 Foods That Boost Your Immune System

April 23, 2020

13 Foods That Boost Your Immune System

Finding and eating healthy foods might not be the first thing on your mind right now. The current health crisis has thrown all of our lives into disarray. Between dealing with stress at work and schools closing, your diet may have gone out the window. However, taking a few minutes to think about what foods you eat can help you improve your health. That's because certain foods can actually improve your immune system! And improving your body's ability to fight infection is incredibly important right now. Here are 13 foods that can boost your immunity.

1. Garlic
Garlic is not just a delicious way to add flavor to your food. It's also an excellent ingredient that boosts your immune system. Garlic has been used around the world for hundreds of years to fight infection. This is because garlic has a high concentration of compounds, like allicin, that contain sulfur. Garlic may also lower your blood pressure and even slow the hardening of arteries.

2. Citrus Fruits
What your mom always told you is true. Vitamin C is great for your health! It's a go-to vitamin when you get the sniffles because it can build your immune system by increasing white blood cell production. White blood cells are necessary for fighting any type of infection in your body. However, your body does not produce Vitamin C, and it cannot store it. Therefore, it's essential to eat foods with Vitamin C every day. Citrus fruits that you can enjoy include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes, and tangerines.

3. Red Bell Peppers
In addition to citrus fruits, you can also get a big dose of Vitamin C from red bell peppers! Believe it or not, these peppers contain twice as much Vitamin C as citrus fruits. Red bell peppers are also good for your skin. They have plenty of beta carotene, which improves the health of your skin and eyes.

4. Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the best foods you can eat. It has lots of good-for-you vitamins like A, C, and E. It also contains fiber and antioxidants. These all work together to boost your immune system and keep it functioning at its best. Broccoli is best when it's cooked as little as possible. When you overcook it, you don't get the nutritional benefits. So, snack on some raw broccoli while you're quarantined!

5. Ginger
You might not eat much ginger, but it's a great food to enjoy when you are sick. This is because ginger can decrease inflammation in your body. This means it can help relieve symptoms of infection, like a sore throat. It can also help lower pain and cholesterol levels. Ginger has also been used to treat nausea for many years. When cooking with ginger, remember that it's not a sweet treat. It can add some heat to your dishes.

6. Spinach
Spinach is another vegetable that is packed with Vitamin C. However, it is also a great source of antioxidants. These compounds are essential for fighting infections in your body. Spinach also has beta carotene! You can enjoy spinach raw, like in the base of a salad, or cooked in a dish. Like broccoli, it's best not to overcook spinach so you'll get all of the nutritional benefits.

7. Yogurt
Yogurt is a delicious treat that can boost your immune system and improve your gut health. It is an excellent source of vitamin D, and many brands fortify their yogurts with it. Vitamin D is necessary for regulating your immune system and helps your body fight diseases. However, it's important to purchase the right type of yogurt. Greek yogurt and others that tout "live and active cultures" are the best for your body. Plain yogurt is also best since flavored yogurts contain large amounts of sugar. You can add berries or honey to sweeten your yogurt at home!

8. Almonds
Almonds, and other nuts, are full of Vitamin E. In fact, a half-cup of almonds will give you almost all of your Vitamin E for the day! This is important because Vitamin E is necessary for a healthy immune system. However, you can't ingest Vitamin E on its own. This is because it's a fat-soluble vitamin. Therefore, fat must be present for it to be properly absorbed by your body. Fortunately, almonds are full of healthy fat, so your body can get all of the benefits of Vitamin E.

9. Turmeric
Turmeric is famous as the main ingredient in curry. But did you know that it has been used as an anti-inflammatory treatment for many years? Turmeric has been used to treat different types of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis. This is because turmeric is high in curcumin. Curcumin also helps repair muscles damaged by exercise!

10. Green Tea
Green tea has lots of antioxidants in the form of flavonoids. It also has high levels of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which is a potent antioxidant. Studies have shown that EGCG improves the functioning of the immune system. Since green tea is steamed when made, it doesn't lose its EGCG content, making it superior to black tea. If that's not enough, green tea also has L-theanine. This amino acid can help your T-cells produce germ-fighting compounds!

11.  Papaya
Papaya is a delicious fruit that's not quite as popular as citrus fruits. However, one papaya has 224% of your daily recommended dose of Vitamin C. Papaya also has B vitamins, folate, and potassium, which your body needs to function correctly. You can also find a digestive enzyme called papain in papayas. This enzyme works as an anti-inflammatory, helping your body reduce inflammation from any type of disease.

12. Kiwi
Kiwi is another delicious fruit that is extremely good for you. Like papaya, it contains folate, potassium, and Vitamin C. It also has Vitamin K. These all work together to boost your white blood cell count, which will help your body fight infection.

13. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a great snack because they are packed with nutrients. You can get Vitamin B-6, phosphorous, and magnesium from these little seeds. They are also full of Vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant. If you're not a fan of sunflower seeds, be sure to eat plenty of dark, leafy greens and avocados to get your Vitamin E in.

While life can seem very uncertain right now, you can take control of your nutrition. Fill your diet with plenty of healthy, whole foods, including those listed above. Remember that variety is essential. Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables so your body can stay as healthy as possible. It will help you fight off any infections that may come your way. It will also help you look and feel your best!

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