Strengthen Your Defense Against Viruses And Bacteria With Food
There are various ways to make sure you remain healthy, and protecting your immune system is a big factor. Certain foods can help boost your immune system by giving it a little extra help. Keep reading to see which foods can help boost your immune system this season.
Enjoy Bone Broth All Year Long
Soup has always been a food for people who are sick, but you can also eat it to ward off illness. In their book, Nourishing Broth, authors Kaayla T. Daniel and Sally Fallon Morell claim that bone broth can improve the immune system. Unlike many health claims about broth, this one has some scientific backing.
According to a 2000 study in the journal Chest, chicken broth does have some medicinal effects. It can reduce inflammation in the body, which is what soothes symptoms for people who are sick. But why save soup for when you’re sick?
Drip Honey Into Your Tea
Honey is an antibacterial and antiviral superfood. In 2017, research in Pharmacognosy Research found that honey releases cytokines. These cytokines activate the immune response, which is why some tea with honey can improve symptoms in a sick person.
Laboratory studies show that honey can fight off bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. It also encourages the body to heal wounds, says wound care specialist Dr. Frank Bongiorno. Add honey to your oatmeal, smoothie, pastries, coffee, and tea for some natural immunity benefits.
Bag Some Bananas
Bananas have high amounts of potassium, vitamin C, and best of all, vitamin B6. Researchers from the University of Queensland, Australia, conducted a study on bananas’ vitamin B6. They reported that eating this fruit regularly can improve your immune system.
Bananas can also fight inflammation. According to the journal Frontiers in Plant Science, bananas have an anti-inflammatory flavonoid called quercetin. It can reduce radical damage in the body to keep your organs healthy. Plus, they’re tasty, easy on the stomach, and can help your digestive system.
All About Almonds
If you want a nut that’ll help your immune system, choose almonds. The skin of almonds contains chemicals that can fight against illness. In 2010, Italian researches found that these nutrients fight off viruses, such as the common flu.
“Almond skins are able to stimulate the immune response and thus contribute to an antiviral immune defense,” said researcher Dr. Giuseppina Mandalari. Almonds are high in vitamin E and antioxidants that keep the body healthier for longer. And they make a filling snack!
The Avocado Toast Truth
People who have hopped on the avocado toast trend may have stronger immune systems. In 2019, research in the journal Antioxidants pinpointed several of avocado’s nutrients that strengthen the immune system. Its strong antioxidant properties can relieve stress in the body.
Avocados contain vitamins C, A, and B6, which can all support the immune system. A scientific review in The Journal of Nutrition claims that these vitamins can enhance the immune system. Plus, it does wonders for your cholesterol levels. Avocado toast, anyone?
What’s Not To Love About Lemons?
What’s a vitamin C powerhouse other than orange? Lemon! These tart fruits can boost your immune system, according to a 2013 scientific review that analyzed over 11,000 participants. A single lemon provides 50% of your vitamin C needs for a day, so you might as well enjoy some lemon water.
“The acidic environment in the stomach serves as a barrier, deterring pathogens from gaining a foothold and causing illness,” explains Cleveland Clinic medical director Roxanne B. Sukol. Although lemons can’t prevent you from getting sick, they are a healthy fruit to enjoy!
Grapefruit Is An Underrated Fruit
While grapefruit might not be the first choice you choose when you go down the produce aisle at the supermarket, you might want to reconsider that strategy. This fruit packs a punch when it comes to protecting your immune system. Jessi Holden, MS, explains how brilliantly.
“It is high in vitamin C (half a grapefruit has 68 percent of your recommended dietary intake), which has antioxidant properties and may boost your cells to fight off bacteria and viruses,” said Holden.
Eggs, Eggs, And More Eggs!
Eggs are a treat because you can prepare them in so many ways, and they go well with different kinds of foods throughout the day, not just breakfast. Also, they have some incredible benefits for your immune system, according to Maggie Moon, author of The MIND Diet.
“Eggs are one of the few kitchen staples that provide a reliable and convenient source of immunity-boosting lutein. It’s a carotenoid that works by enhancing the body’s inherent immune response,” said Moon. Lutein also helps pick up the slack for proteins when you’re sick since your body has a higher demand for those molecules.
Pumpkin Seeds Are Another Helpful Seed!
Pumpkin seeds are a fantastic treat during the fall. After carving up your pumpkin for the holidays, you can clean and prepare the seeds however you wish. You’d be doing your immune system a great justice if you do this.
“Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which is a mineral that is well-established for boosting immunity, helping the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses,” said Trudy Scott, Food Mood Expert. Is anyone ready for October now?
Did Someone Say, Yogurt?
Yogurt and kefir are pretty much the same, minus one huge difference. Kefir has three times the amount of probiotics in it compared to yogurt. Now, how do these two creamy products help with immunity?
“Yogurt and kefir are great ways to strengthen the immune system by providing the body with helpful probiotics, a set of live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial to improving digestive health,” one expert said. Having a sound digestive system is key for upkeeping your health.
Get Your Fill Of These Little Seeds
Baseball players chew them regularly, and they’re never the wrong choice to buy from the gas station. Sunflower seeds help your health more than you realize, making them pretty great food, even though they are so small.
“Sunflower seeds contain 35 percent of the daily value for vitamin E, which works as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and may improve immune function,” Michelle Dudash, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families claims. She says, “The seeds also contain protein and magnesium.”
Vegetables, Especially Broccoli, Are Always A Good Choice
Parents always urge their children to eat their vegetables. Not for tortuous reasons, but to help. One of the most important greens to ensure you’re eating is broccoli. Due to what’s inside of the vegetable that resembles a tree, it can help out tremendously.
“A chemical called sulforaphane is found in broccoli,” Dr. Gilmer says, “This chemical triggers certain immune cells with antioxidant genes and enzymes to fight free radicals and prevent sicknesses.” What’s even better is numerous ways you can prepare it.
Try Out Some Oily Fish
Seafood lovers have an advantage in keeping healthy if they like oily fish. While there is some concern with the consumption of raw fish and iron overload, all you have to do is eat in moderation. Also, be sure to examine your food before cooking it.
“Oily fish like salmon, trout, anchovies, and sardines are rich in essential omega-3s, which are a precursor to many compounds that play a defensive role in immune response,” Dudash reported.
Good ‘Ol Blueberries!
It’s hard not to enjoy blueberries, so if you don’t you might want to pay attention to this. This fruit has a high percentage of a vitamin you need to help keep your immune system strong.
“One serving (a handful or a cup) of blueberries provides 16 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C,” Rizzo added. “Not only is vitamin C a key nutrient that helps the immune system work properly, it’s also an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage.”
Clementines Are Very Helpful!
Every time you peel back a clementine and enjoy the juiciness it possesses, you’re helping yourself as well. That’s the beauty of fruits and vegetables; you don’t always need to cook them and they’re great at providing immune help.
“Clementines are easy to take with you wherever you go. They’re packed with vitamin C, which helps prevent colds and fight infections,” Karen Z Berg, MS, RD, said. Keep a few with you when you’re on the go!
Another Spice To Help You
Anise is a spice that goes well with high-fat meats like duck, goose, and pork. The distinct flavor cuts through the fat and gives it a boost in a flavor your tastebuds will appreciate. This spice also helps with immunity.
“This spice is easily recognized by its distinctive licorice smell. Anise is a triple threat with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. It also contains immunity-boosting antioxidants,” Gilmer noted. What would you try this with next?
Boost Your Smoothie Or Oatmeal With Hemp Seeds
There are many benefits attached to hemp seeds, but we’re here to focus on how it helps your immune system. These tiny seeds also contain a nice dosage of protein and fiber.
As far as boosting your immunity goes, Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, author of The No-Brainer Nutrition Guide For Every Runner will help you understand. “Another important aspect of immune health is zinc since it helps fight against infection. Zinc isn’t in that many foods, but just 2 tablespoons of hemp seeds contain about 20% of your daily needs, Rizzo said.
Don’t Be Afraid Of A Little Red Bell Pepper
Red bell peppers can take your health to the next level if you consume them correctly. By that, we mean making sure you include them in your diet when you see fit and don’t exclude them.
“Red peppers are one of my favorite foods to incorporate into my diet for immune system-boosting benefits,” Keri Glassman, MS ad founder of Nutritious Life added. “Gram for gram, they have about twice the amount of vitamin C as most fruits and vegetables, including the most famous immune-boosters, oranges.”
Sweet Potatoes Are Healthy Alternatives For A Reason
There are two types of people in the world: those who order the regular fries and those who want the sweet potato version. Science tells us the latter is the healthier choice, and for good reason.
“Sweet potatoes contain more than three times the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A, a good source of vitamin B6, plus some magnesium and vitamin C—an antioxidant,” said Dudash. Next time you have the chance to choose between sweet and regular potato, remember what you read here.
Garlic Will Fend Off Your Sickness
Yes, your breath might smell some after consuming anything with garlic in it, but you’re doing your body some good. Vampires hate it, but you’re not a blood-sucking undead creature. When you’re feeling off, get some garlic in you.
“Garlic contains the enzyme alliinase, which converts alliin to allicin, a beneficial sulfur compound that is believed to boost immune function and fend off the common cold and flu,” Registered Dietitian Gabriele Geerts said. No wonder vampires never get better!
What Many Don’t Realize About Popcorn
While popcorn might be one of the go-to snacks when it’s time to enjoy the latest movie release, it does more than satisfy your snacking needs. Yup, popcorn helps your immune system thanks to the polyphenols it has.
“Polyphenols have similar properties to antioxidants that help prevent cardiovascular disease and some cancers,” Cindy Dallow, Ph.D. said, “Popcorn contains 300 milligrams of polyphenols per serving, which is more than what is found in most fruits and vegetables!”
Have Yourself Some Roasted Chickpeas!
If you’ve never had roasted chickpeas or you’re unaware of the benefits they provide, allow a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered (NDTR) to fill you in what good they bring. You might get surprised knowing what they’re filled with!
“Not only are they a great substitute for chips when you get a crunchy craving, but they [also] contain the mineral zinc, which helps strengthen our immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses,” Erin Marchefka, NDTR says.
What’s Not To Like About Asparagus
The only downside to eating asparagus is that they have a peculiar smell that you get a good whiff of when you have to go number one. That’s no good, but the benefits they provide are tons of fun.
“Asparagus is a great source of prebiotic fiber, which is the indigestible plant fiber that feeds the probiotics in your gut,” Rizzo said. “Eating prebiotic fiber helps keep your gut and immune system healthy since 70 percent of your immune system lives in the gut.”
Remember Green Boosts Your Immunity
Tea and honey is a beverage many like to sip when they’re feeling under the weather. There’s a good reason why this is so, but you’ll benefit from green tea even more than the others.
“Due to the way it is processed, green tea, in particular, is very high in specific antioxidant compounds known as EGCG compared with black tea,” Marissa Meshulam, MS states. She added, “Additionally, green tea contains an amino acid L-theanine, most notably known for positive effects on brain function, which also is thought to enhance immune function.”
Don’t Forget Ginger!
Several studies have shown how ginger protects the body. In the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, one study reported that ginger guarded human tissue against viruses. When you combine ginger with garlic, both function as an antibacterial, says the 2011 Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials.
In cancer patients, ginger shows some promise. In 2011, research in the Official Journal of the Balkan Union of Oncology noted that ginger can kill some cancer cells. It also activates the immune system to prevent the body from catching diseases.
Cook With Coconut Oil
Along with being a convenient cooking ingredient, coconut oil also strengthens the immune system. “If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, coconut oil is not a good choice,” says Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard. The oil’s unsaturated fats can delay heart disease.
Coconut also contains two disease-fighting lipids. According to research in Cell Death Discovery, these lipids can fight against both viruses and bacteria. All you have to do is cook with coconut oil a bit more often.
Tomatoes Help Because They Are Red
Tomatoes get their red color from their carotenoid, lycopene. According to The Journal of Nutrition, lycopene can encourage the growth of healthy immune cells. Study participants who drank tomato juice daily had stronger immune systems than those who didn’t.
On the website Eat Right, registered dietitian and nutritionist Sarah Klemm agrees that tomatoes are immune-boosting. Its nutrients–vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc–all act as antioxidants that soothe the body. Tomatoes’ vitamin C also motivates the growth of antibodies, which fight off illnesses.
Papayas are sweet, juicy, and vicious against diseases. In 2012, researchers reported that papaya extract “significantly increased immune functions” in participants. A single papaya has double the amount of daily recommended vitamin C, which may be why it’s so healthy.
Did you know that you can also eat papaya leaves? In the journal Ministry in Health, Malayan researchers noted that the leaves enhance immunity, too. Specifically, they fortify the body against the dengue treatment. If that’s not your cup of tea, eat the fruit. Your body will thank you.
Turmeric Is Always There To Help
Have you ever had to get a shot of turmeric and ginger when under the weather? It’s an acquired taste, but there’s a reason people do it. There are also many different ways to incorporate the turmeric spice to help your immune system.
“Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory called curcumin, which stimulates the activation of main fighting cells of the immune system. These are called T-cells,” Dr. John Gilmer, Ph.D. said. While the taste is obscure, it’s doing more good for you than bad.